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N. Korea calls for wartime patriotism amid increasing tensions with outside world
SEOUL, March 15 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is ramping up efforts to rally wartime patriotism among its citizens in what South Korean analysts say is a bid to unite its people behind the country's defiant stance against the outside world.

   Rodong Sinmun, North Korea's mainstream newspaper published by the governing Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), carried a column calling for "the fatherland defending spirit (seen) in the 1950s" in its Friday issue.

   "Now that the country has virtually entered a time of war, the fatherland defending spirit of the 1950s has become a priceless sentimental asset and a source of encouragement," the column said.

   The 1950s spirit indicates the will to risk bloodshed in "defending every inch of the fatherland," the column said, adding the strong patriotism helped the country defend itself in the fight against the United States in the 1950-53 Korean War.

   "Through the spirit, (citizens) should now be equipped with the determination and the boldness to drive the U.S. off of the globe in an full-scale showdown with the country," the newspaper said.

   The same newspaper also carried a similar column last week, calling on the citizens to rekindle their strong patriotism. The most widely circulated newspaper often uses its columns to instill the governing party's ideas and outline policy decisions.

   Analysts in South Korea said the latest campaign reflects the country's efforts to unite its people while the country tries to fend off criticism for conducting an underground nuclear test on Feb. 12.

   "North Korea is trying to conjure up its experiences in the Korean War in order to give confidence in its fight against the U.S. to its citizens and to rally support for its regime," said Kim Yong-hyun, a North Korean studies professor at Dongkuk University.

   This year marks the 60th anniversary of the end of the civil war.

   Condemning a punitive U.N. resolution for the recent nuclear test and the ongoing joint South Korea-U.S. military drills, the North has repeatedly threatened to wage a nuclear war, fueling tensions on the Korea Peninsula.

   pbr@yna.co.kr
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