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NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 93 (February 11, 2010)
*** TOPIC OF THE WEEK (Part 2)

North Korea Warns of Strong Measures against 'Anti-DPRK Fanatics'

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea's two state security organizations issued a joint statement early this week warning South Korea that any attempt to topple the socialist country would draw "all-out strong measures" from its military.

   The statement said on Feb. 8 that Pyongyang is poised to mobilize troops to defend itself, including a "world-level ultramodern striking force" that has not yet been publicly revealed.

   North Korea's Ministry of People's Security and the Ministry of State Security said in the statement, "We have a world-level ultra-modern striking force and means for protecting security which have neither yet been mentioned nor opened to the public in total."

   It is the first time for the two state security bodies to have released the joint statement through official media.

   The two North agencies threatened to "mercilessly pulverize" those who attempt to damage the North's national security by mobilizing all its troops and security forces.

   North Korea will take "all-out strong measures to foil the treacherous, anti-reunification and anti-peace moves of the riff-raff to bring down the dignified socialist system ... and destabilize it," said the statement carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

   The statement criticized the South Korean efforts to defend the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the disputed maritime border in the West Sea that the North refuses to recognize. The statement called such naval activities "reckless operations" designed to disturb North Korea. South Korea should "immediately disband all the plot-breeding machines and bodies of the authorities going against national reconciliation," it said.

   The threat came even as Pyongyang embarked on a flurry of diplomacy with Seoul, Washington and Beijing. It came on the same day that the two Koreas discussed resuming suspended tours to Mt. Kumgang and Kaesong north of the border.

   The threat was also issued as senior Chinese envoy Wang Jiarui was visiting Pyongyang amid an international push to persuade North Korea to return to stalled nuclear disarmament talks.

   Experts explained the stern warning was carefully timed to show tensions could flare if North Korea doesn't get what it wants from the round of diplomacy.

   Pyongyang's warning also came on the heels of South Korea's reported contingency plan for unrest in the North, spreading of propaganda leaflets critical of Pyongyang's communist system and military tension along the Koreas' disputed western sea border.

   North Korea fired hundreds of artillery shells along its de facto maritime border with South Korea to raise tension late last month while its top political body, the National Defense Commission, vowed a "sacred battle" against the South over reported contingency plans that Seoul had reportedly made in preparation for regime collapse in Pyongyang. The Feb. 8 statement said the battle has already begun.

   In the statement, the North warned that the South's military provocations for intruding into the inviolable territorial waters, airspace and land of the DPRK (North Korea) and espionage and conspiratorial plots to topple its system have reached an extreme phase.

   "Typical examples of them are the adventurous military moves of the warmongers of the south Korean military to preserve the illegal NLL in the West Sea of Korea and the reckless operations to destabilize the north being staged by them via the frontline and coastal and border areas," it said.

   It claimed that the South's National Intelligence Service, the Defense Security Command and other "ill-famed espionage and plot-breeding organizations of south Korea" are acting a shock brigade for carrying them out. Involved in them are government institutions including the Defense Ministry, the Ministry of Unification and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and "trigger-happy groups of the military and ultra-right conservatives under the direct control and command of those institutions as well as human scum."

   It went on to say that the South Korean authorities have entered into the phase of putting the already rounded off "OPLAN 5029" and "Emergency Ruling Plan-Puhung" into practice while deliberately creating the fiction of "emergency situation" in the DPRK.

   Analysts said the North's warning by the two organizations appears targeted at the North's internal society and some North Korean defectors engaging in active anti-Pyongyang activities. They said the Internet media networks being operated by North Korean defectors are the prime target of the state security organizations.

   Reports have it that North Korean authorities are extremely dissatisfied with the Internet media's report on the North's social disorder and unrest, famine and food shortage triggered by the North's recent currency redenomination and the closure of markets.

   These Internet media have been disclosing all the ill elements of the North Korean society by employing some "correspondents" inside the North. The inside agents are even provided with the cellular phones and mobile video equipment to report how bad and cruel in the North Korean situation.

   The North's organizations said that the "daily escalating scattering of leaflets over areas of the DPRK has escalated into its depth from the frontline areas and the foolish operations to bring down the system involving all spy forces and means find their way to the deep inland of the DPRK, after going beyond the boundary of areas around it."

   Apparently targeting North Korean defectors engaging anti-Pyongyang activities, the joint statement said that "there is no room for the group of traitors to stay in Korea and on the earth as they bring harm to the country with their back turned on the nation."

   Analysts also predict that the North's latest statement indicate that there will be reinforced closure of border areas against North Koreans fleeing the country, and internally, there will be tightened control and surveillance of the its residents.

   "There has already started a nationwide just retaliatory battle to make a clean sweep of all the unsavory forces hell-bent on the moves to stem the trend of the times," the statement said. "It is an invariable primary mission and duty for our people's security and state security forces to devotedly defend the headquarters of the revolution and ensure security of the country and people's happiness."

   Analysts say, however, the North will continue to seek dialogue with the outside world despite its menacing rhetoric because economic difficulties have prompted it to do so.

   The economic plight for its 24 million people has deepened since North Korea conducted its second atomic test in May last year, which led to the toughening of the arms and trade sanctions, they say.

   North Korea this year has mixed belligerent rhetoric with conciliatory gestures. It has reached out to the international community in recent months, an about-face that analysts say shows the regime is feeling pinched by sanctions.

   However, North Korea has made clear it wants sanctions lifted and a peace treaty to formally end the 1950-1953 Korean War before returning to the disarmament talks.

   In an apparent conciliatory gesture toward the U.S., North Korea on Feb. 6 released a U.S. missionary it had held since he crossed into the country from China on the Christmas Day with the goal of publicizing human rights abuses there.