Kim Declares South Korea ‘Primary Foe’ and Issues Warning of War

On Monday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for a revision of the constitution, emphasizing that South Korea should be recognized as the “primary foe.” In a speech delivered to the Supreme People’s Assembly, North Korea’s parliament, Kim expressed the view that unification with the South was no longer feasible. He accused Seoul of actively pursuing regime collapse and unification through absorption.

Kim proposed amending the constitution to instill the belief among North Koreans that South Korea is the “primary foe” and a constant principal enemy. Additionally, he suggested defining North Korea’s territory as distinct and separate from that of the South. This announcement comes with a warning that North Korea does not intend to shy away from war if it were to occur, as reported by state media KCNA on Tuesday.

Kim was quoted by KCNA as stating, “While we do not seek war, we have no intention of evading it.”

Inter-Korean Communications were Served

 Kim emphasized the need for North Korea to strategize for the “complete occupation, subjugation, and reclamation” of South Korea in the event of a war. He proposed that South Koreans should no longer be referred to as fellow countrymen, urging the severance of all inter-Korean communication and the demolition of a reunification monument in Pyongyang.

As part of these directives, three organizations dealing with unification and inter-Korean tourism would be closed down, as reported by state media. In response to these developments, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, during a cabinet meeting, criticized Pyongyang for adopting an “anti-national” stance by labeling the South as a hostile country.

Escalations in the Entire Region

Kim’s proposal for constitutional changes comes at a time of heightened tensions in the Korean Peninsula, marked by a series of missile tests and Pyongyang’s efforts to shift decades-old policies in its relationship with the South.

While a considerable portion of Kim’s speech focused on plans for enhancing the quality of life, some experts, like Lim Eul-chul, a professor of North Korea studies at South Korea’s Kyungnam University, suggest that Kim’s rhetoric towards South Korea and the US is aimed at preserving internal unity and achieving economic and military objectives, particularly when the US is preoccupied with other crises.

On the contrary, Won Gon Park from Seoul’s Ewha Womans University contends that Kim may be feeling threatened by the reinforced extended nuclear deterrence from South Korea and the US, the deployment of US strategic assets in the Korean Peninsula, and collaborative military efforts with Japan. According to Park, Kim’s increasingly assertive language reflects a perception of losing the upper hand in the inter-Korean relationship.

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