firmly in place has been confirmed through an abundance of historical evidence.
The Yeonpyeong Island attack and counteraction
We have to understand North Korea`s plan to build a strong and powerful country in 2012 in order to understand the real intention behind its shelling of a South Korean island near the border. The North declared in the New Year`s joint newspaper editorial on January 1, 2008, that it will open the door to a strong and powerful socialist state by 2012, the centennial of Kim Il Sung`s birth. The ambition means its leading the reunification of the Korean Peninsula, suggesting that it will forcefully take over the South by 2012.
North Korea`s ambitious goal and uncompromising military adventurism
North Korea overhauled its strategy towards the South early in 2009 in order to achieve the ambitious goal. It moved the control tower for crafting anti-South strategy, including maneuvering tactics, to its military from the communist party.
The military`s takeover of the anti-South strategy means that Pyongyang will take more aggressive and militant actions against Seoul. It is rushing towards uncompromising military adventurism as it should lay the groundwork for a revolution in South Korea in order to build a strong and powerful socialist state in 2012. Its intension is clear given the past events: long-range missile launch test on April 5, 2009, the second nuclear test on May 25, 2009, the third military clash at the West Sea on November 10, 2009, an assassination plot in November 2009 to kill Hwang Jang-yup, a former secretary to the North Korean Workers` Party who defected to the South in 1997, the sinking of South Korean warship Cheonan-ho on March 26, 2010, and the disclosure of its uranium enrichment facility for nuclear weapon production in November 2010. The attack on the Yeonpyeong Island is on the continuum.
The Yeongpyeong Island shelling is a multi-purpose move
The shelling of the Yeonpyeong Island is apparently part of the North`s strategy aimed at taking over the South and building a strong and powerful socialist state. The provocation seems to have multiple purposes at domestic and external fronts.
First, the North is intended to build up conditions favorable to its takeover of the South by pushing President Lee Myung-bak`s administration into a corner, shaking its political base, stirring up the ideological conflicts among the South Koreans, and creating fear of a war.
Second, Pyongyang wants to allay the people`s agitation and discontent with a prolonged economic hardship, maintain the dictatorship, and transfer the power to the young hair, Kim Jung-un.
Third, the Kim Jong-il regime plans to pressure the international community into an appeasement policy toward it by escalating tension in the Korean Peninsula while strongly resisting the economic sanctions by the U.S. and the U.N. in the wake of the Cheonan incident. For example, it tries to take advantage of the geopolitical risks in order to secure a better position in the multilateral talks over its nuclear program or its direct negotiation with Washington.
South Korea needs to show anger and strong will to punish the North
Additional offense such as the Yeonpyeong Island shelling was well anticipated after the North torpedoed the South Korean warship Cheonan early this year. The South Korean government showed too passive response to the ship sinking only with words of retaliation, which would temp the North into another provocation. It seems the Kim Jong-il regime has gained confidence that it can go further after seeing the South tone down its counterattack in fear of escalating into a war.
The Yeonpyeong Island shelling suggests it is the time for the South Koreans to show their anger and strong will to punish the North`s uncivilized move. The government and military leadership should regret that they only followed the rules of engagement when the North attacked our territory, killing our people and soldiers and destroying military and civilian facilities. Are the rules of engagement above the Constitution? Given the self-defense right stipulated by the Constitution, we have to promptly penalize the North with all possible military means for any provocation in the future. If our government only repeats its empty threat of retaliation against the Yeonpyeong Island incident, we cannot assure that there will be no more Cheonan or Yeonpyeong case. We have to carefully craft a strategy to isolate and collapse Kim Jong-il`s dictatorship regime for the sake of the permanent peace and reunification in the Korean Peninsula.
By Yu Dong-yeol, senior researcher at the Police Security Institute