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Herald photograph sparks anti-Seoul rallies in Pyongyang

A poster denouncing former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and his successor Kim Jong-un (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)
A poster denouncing former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and his successor Kim Jong-un (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)
The recent increase in the vehemence of Pyongyang’s anti-South Korea rhetoric was fueled by an exclusive photograph taken by The Korea Herald, it was revealed Monday.

On Feb. 28, a Herald Media photojournalist photographed a poster at an Army unit in Incheon carrying slogans that roughly translate to “Defeat Kim Jong-il and Kill Kim Jong-un.”

After the photograph was carried by the Herald Business, The Korea Herald’s sister publication, on Feb. 28, Pyongyang upped its anti-Seoul rhetoric, and held a mass rally attended by some 150,000 people in Pyongyang on Sunday.

The South Korean authorities belatedly took issue with the photograph on March 2. Until then the photograph appeared to have been more or less unnoticed by the authorities.

Since Pyongyang used the photograph as an excuse to increase anti-Seoul propaganda, the Ministry of National Defense has explained that the poster was produced to bolster the unit’s “concept about the enemy.”

“The poster is designed to help consolidate the concept about who the enemy is,” a Defense Ministry official said.

Although the South Korean military removed the term “main enemy” in reference to the North Korean military in its 2004 military white paper, it has maintained that Pyongyang’s military and leaders were the main threat to South Korea’s security.

The official added that while the term “main enemy” may not be used in an official capacity as in the past, the concept that the North Korean regime and its armed forces are the entities that present a threat to national security has never been changed.

“Although such posters are not a military secret as such, photographing military facilities and equipment of any kind needs to be authorized before hand,” the official said.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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