Seoul flags Kim Jong-un sympathizers as inside threats

These forces, the ministry of defence said, reject the legitimacy of South Korea as a country and the system of liberal democracy that is at its core.

Kim Arin

Kim Arin

The Korea Herald


The cover page of the South Korean defense ministry’s moral training program book. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF NATIONAL DEFENCE/THE KOREA HERALD

December 27, 2023

SEOUL – The Ministry of National Defense in Seoul has characterized sympathizers of the North Korean regime threats within South Korea.

In its latest version unveiled Tuesday, the Defense Ministry’s moral training program called sympathizers of the North Korean regime and its ideology “threats from inside that imperil the very foundations of liberal democracy.”

The ministry said in the program that among South Korea, there existed forces that “sympathize with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un regime without criticism” while “turning a blind eye on some of the worst human rights atrocities perpetrated there.”

These forces, the ministry said, reject the legitimacy of South Korea as a country and the system of liberal democracy that is at its core.

“The presence of the Kim regime sympathizers among us constitutes grave threats to national security,” the ministry said. These sympathizers, working at the behest of Pyongyang, “make constant efforts to generate anti-US public perception and rally to get the US forces to exit the country,” it added.

As a recent example of a North Korean scheme to plant its influence in South Korea, the ministry cited the Constitutional Court-backed dissolution of a minor political party — the United Progressive Party — over its ties to North Korean leadership in 2014.

In April, a senior official of the Progressive Party related to the disbanded United Progressive Party was indicted on charges of aiding a North Korean spy ring after he was arrested by the National Intelligence Service.

The ministry’s previous programs did not specify the efforts made by the North’s regime to expand its influence here.

The revised program also praised South Korea’s first president, Syngman Rhee, as “a leader who thwarted the expansion of communism through his political determination.”

The Rhee administration is accused of blowing up a bridge over the Han River, which cuts across Seoul, to stop North Korean troops from reaching the capital during the Korean War. Civilian deaths, whose toll remains an estimate, were caused as a result.

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