South Korea’s intelligence chief said Friday that North Korea was tightening control of information to keep its people from being influenced by the pro-democracy protests in the Middle East.
“North Korea is strengthening its ideological training through media statements, fearing domestic spread of the news” that uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia overthrew dictatorships and spread to Libya, Won Sei-hoon, head of the National Intelligence Service, told a parliamentary committee Friday.
“(Pyongyang) is toughening crackdowns to keep its people from being swayed by outside information.”
Won also said North Korea was revving up its propaganda activities to further idolize Kim Jong-il’s heir apparent Jong-un.
National Intelligence Service chief Won Sei-hoon (left) refuses to answer reporters’ questions as he enters a meeting of the National Assembly’s Intelligence Committee Friday. (Yang Dong-chul/The Korea Herald)
As part of the propaganda to elevate the younger Kim’s status, Pyongyang often edits news reports or video images to make it look like Jong-un went on solo inspection trips around the country when in fact he was accompanying his father, according to Won.
To support the third generation power transfer, the North Korean Workers’ Party also revised its rules last September by adding a clause that the party “guarantees succession from Kim Il-sung,” the founder of the communist regime and father of Kim Jong-il, Won was quoted as saying at the closed-door parliamentary session by Rep. Hwang Jin-ha of the ruling Grand National Party.
Won neither confirmed nor denied news reports on NIS agents’ allegedly failed attempt to steal arms procurement data from Indonesian envoys.
Also on Friday, Unification Minister Hyun In-taek said Seoul has not found any definitive evidence to confirm Japanese news reports that Beijing and Pyongyang were in final discussions for Kim Jong-un’s visit to China.
“(The government) has not found any concrete evidence on Jong-un’s visit to China,” Hyun told the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs, trade and unification.
Hyun also said the Seoul government was neither considering nor planning for a summit with North Korea.
By Kim So-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org