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“Kim Jong-il is a Winner”

Posted June. 15, 2004 22:16,   

Updated January. 01, 1970 09:00


The textbooks of Korean elementary schools that used to emphasize adversity and dread against their enemy are now inserting photographs of the North Korean women who purchase goods in stores. Even in teaching materials used in a fourth-year class of an elementary school in Seoul, the story that describes Romeo and Juliet as lovers who cannot marry due to the interruption of an evil dragon over a river is mentioned. The river refers to the de-militarized zone, and the evil dragon refers to the United States.

The U.S. weekly magazine, Time, printed North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s smiling face on the cover of its latest edition on June 21. Kim wore a military uniform as well as satisfaction on his face in the photo. The title of its cover story was: “Why is he smiling?”

Time points out that the existing status quo has been changed because the ideological education in South Korea is being changed, neighboring countries’ attitudes towards North Korea have been altered, and that the ever-solid guarantee of North Korea’s governing system has been obtained through its nuclear development. In other words, the international situation that has become profitable for Kim is making him smile.

This magazine takes a look at the atmosphere of Dong Du Cheon where the 2nd Infantry Division of the U.S. army is stationed, and the city’s opposition to the reduction of the U.S. army in Korea which is connected to the Global Position Realignment program of the U.S., covering the current situation of Korea-U.S. alliance and changing atmosphere of Korean society.

“Though the residents in Dong Du Cheon are against the reduction, Korea is now under the domination of a leftist-nationalist president and assembly that regards North Korea as a potential friend or companion,” points out Time. “Instead of giving information of about poor conditions in North Korea, the Korean press devotes a large amount of coverage to the progress of South-North economic cooperation.” The Time article refers to the Guem Gang San tour as an exemplary which has consumed up about 56 million dollars so far. That is, the alteration of South Korea’s attitude towards North Korea has caused the U.S. military reduction, and driven the relationship between the two countries into tension.

Time pointed out that Japanese Premier Koizumi’s remark: “I felt North Korea is interested in moving in a positive direction,” is another factor that makes North Korea smile.

The problem is that movement of U.S. forces in Korea is not based on the healthy relationship of the two countries, pointed out Time, saying “the intimidations of North Korea assessed by Bahn Ki-moon, the Korean foreign minister are still weaker than that of U.S. officials.”

Quoting the remarks of Lee Dong-bok, the former chief manager of South-North talks, Time assessed: “North Korea is the winner.”

Time said “Now, the goal of Kim is the third round of the Six-nations talks, which will be held at the end of this month and the U.S. cannot hold back Kim” adding “The foundation of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has become more solid than in the past” with its anxiety.

Young-Sik Kim spear@donga.com