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Heightening tension to tighten control

North Korea has a long list of provocative acts against South Korea, which were aimed at tightening internal control by raising tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

The sinking of a South Korean naval vessel and the bombardment of Yeonpyeong Island last year, which claimed 50 lives, were the latest in a series of strikes the North has launched against its southern neighbor for decades.

Since being anointed successor to his father, North Korea’s founder Kim Il-sung in 1974, Kim Jong-il was believed to have masterminded provocations against South Korea until he died in December. He took power in 1994 following the death of his father.

Three North Korean agents blew up a state mausoleum in Myanmar in 1983, killing 17 top South Korean officials accompanying President Chun Doo-hwan as he visited the Southeast Asian nation. A duo of agents from Pyongyang planted a bomb on a South Korean passenger plane in 1987, which blew up over the Indian Ocean, killing all 115 people aboard.

Experts here believe last year’s provocations near the Northern Limit Line in the West Sea were connected to the bolstering of the military credentials of Kim Jong-un, the youngest son and successor of the deceased North Korean dictator.

By Kim Kyung-ho (khkim@heraldcorp.com)
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