Pyongyang abolishes agencies handling inter-Korean affairs

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North Korea has decided to abolish agencies in charge of inter-Korean affairs at a key parliamentary meeting, as leader Kim Jong-un said South Korea should be marked “No. 1 hostile country” in the Constitution, state media reported Tuesday. The decision was made at the 10th session of the 14th Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) held on Monday in Pyongyang, according to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The bodies in question are the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country; the National Economic Cooperation Bureau; and the Kumgangsan International Tourism Administration, reports Yonhap News Agency. KCNA said North Korea will dismantle those agencies which have only existed to promote inter-Korean dialogue and cooperation. While addressing Monday’s meeting, Kim called for drawing up legal measures to define South Korea not as a counterpart for reconciliation and unification, according to the KCNA.

“In my opinion, we can specify in our constitution the issue of completely occupying, subjugating and reclaiming the ROK and annex it as a part of the territory of our Republic in case of a war breaks out on the Korean Peninsula,” Kim said, using the acronym of South Korea’s full name, the Republic of Korea. He called for stipulating in the constitution that education programs should be strengthened to get North Koreans to be instilled with “the firm idea that the ROK is their primary foe and invariable principal enemy.”

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Kim also ordered steps to “get rid of the remnants of the past era” that can be regarded as symbols of inter-Korean reconciliation. “For the present, we should take strict stepwise measures to thoroughly block all the channels of north-south communication along the border, including the one of physically and completely cutting off the railway tracks in our side … to an irretrievable level,” he said.

The North’s leader also ordered the dismantling of “the eye-sore” Monument to the Three Charters for National Reunification, a monument built in 2001 in Pyongyang to mark late founder Kim Il-sung’s blueprint for federation system-based unification. Kim reiterated his country will not avoid war though it has no intention to unilaterally start an armed conflict unless provoked. “As the southern border of our country has been clearly drawn, the illegal ‘Northern Limit Line’ (NLL) and any other boundary can never be tolerated, and if the ROK violates even 0.001 millimeters of our territorial land, air and waters, it will be considered a war provocation,” he said.

North Korea has not recognised the NLL, long demanding that the line be moved farther south as it was unilaterally drawn by the US-led UN Command after the 1950-53 Korean War.