Seoul Unification Minister Claims N.K. Leader’s Offensive Stance Aimed to Distract from Domestic Issues

SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's recent aggressive stance toward South Korea is reportedly a tactic to shift domestic focus away from economic struggles and negative perceptions of hereditary power succession. Seoul's Unification Minister Kim Yung-ho commented on these developments, analyzing the North's strategic motives.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the North's recent characterization of inter-Korean relations as "hostile" at a year-end ruling party meeting is linked to internal challenges facing Pyongyang. This comes after North Korea fired 200 rounds of artillery shells near the Northern Limit Line, the maritime border between the Koreas, marking its first major armed provocation of the year. "The North's internal situation is very difficult," the minister stated.

Citing interviews with North Korean defectors in South Korea, Kim Yung-ho noted that there is significant discontent with the hereditary succession of power in North Korea, a country ruled by the Kim family since its founding in 1948. He suggested that the North's recent actions aim to deflect such internal dissatisfaction towards external issues.

The minister also addressed recent comments from the sister of the North Korean leader, who claimed that South Korea's current administration has justified North Korea's military development. Kim Yung-ho dismissed these statements as part of North Korea's psychological warfare and affirmed that the South Korean government would respond firmly to continued provocations.

Furthermore, he downplayed concerns about the U.S. potentially recognizing North Korea as a nuclear state in the event of Donald Trump winning the upcoming presidential election. Kim Yung-ho emphasized that such recognition would lead to nuclear development in South Korea and Japan, indicating broader regional implications.

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