South Korea calls North Korea followers ‘internal threat’ in military educational material

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The Defence Ministry has described followers of North Korea’s ideology and system in South Korea as an “internal threat” in its latest basic educational material for soldiers, in a departure from the previous Liberal government that did not outline such threats.

The conservative Yoon Suk Yeol government has taken a hardline stance on North Korea amid its evolving nuclear and missile threats, compared with the preceding Moon Jae-in government that sought reconciliation and cooperation with North Korea. The basic material published on Tuesday said there are forces inside South Korea that follow North Korea “uncritically,” while remaining silent on the regime’s human rights abuses and economic woes, Yonhap news agency reported.

“As for internal threats, there are those from forces that seek to shake the foundations of liberal democracy by following North Korea’s ideology and system against South Korea’s constitution,” it added. The new educational material for soldiers also called the North Korean regime and its military South Korea’s “enemy,” renewing the description it made of North Korea in the 2022 Defence White Paper published early this year.

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The Ministry is set to distribute the new educational material to military units from the end of this month. Defence Minister Shin Won-sik has called for strengthening troop education amid heightened tensions over North Korea’s continued saber-rattling, highlighted by its recent launch of a Hwasong-18 intercontinental ballistic missile.