An Unnecessary Propaganda Victory for Pyongyang

July 6th, 2012

Yesterday unification activist Ro Su-hui walked across the DMZ in sensational scenes which saw him handcuffed, roped up and arrested upon his first steps across the border. Moments earlier he had been given a hero’s send-off in a highly orchestrated move by Pyongyang which can only be described, for now, as a clear but unnecessary

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About the Author

Chad O'Carroll

Chad O'Carroll has written on North Korea since 2010 and writes between London and Seoul.

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  • Tomas22

    Exactly my sentiments. I am amazed at how badly ROK dropped the ball. The fact is that if they had simply *guided* the old geezer into the building, then the North would have gone away completely empty handed. But that stupid bid to pin him down was EXACTLY what the north wanted on camera. The whole freshly edited version complete with emphasis on all the worst parts is already up on KCNA. You can expect to see this coupled with the recent surge in crazy “쥐명박” propaganda for sure….

  • newageman

    Hi Tad,

    I fully share your sentiment.

    The more important points in this tragic scene
    are that 1) SK is not a democratic society yet since
    its citizens cannot enjoy the basic human right to
    travel, speak, or engage in unification activities;
    2) the international advocates for human rights in
    N. Korea are hypocrates because they are so silent on
    the serious violation of humans in S. Korea; and 3)
    the division of Korea itself is the main cause of a gross
    violation of human rights in Korea today.

    Above all, Uncle Sam, the world champion for human rights, is, in fact, the main party responsible for creating and maintaining the artificial division and wall in Korea.

    When will American people wake up to this shameful fact? 

  • 盖罗杰 강로저

    Tad – I thought you gave a balanced view of a polarizing and polarized issue.  Ultimately, it’s up to the voters in South Korea to address their national security law.

    2 observations:

    1) Ro saw only the absolute best (Pretty only, please) DPRK has to offer – yet still chose to walk South! And he knew he was going to be arrested.  Let’s hope DPRK shows this on KCNA.  People will quickly realize they saw someone who was relatively free to go north and then walked south of his own will and accord after seeing the “greenest pastures”. 

    Worker’s Paradise, it would seem is relative as opposed to absolute.

    2) I’m not a trained geneticist, but I’m pretty sure there’s no DPRK or ROK gene predisposing one side to democracy and the other side to something radically different.  That means both sides will see this incident through their own cultural lens.  As you point, out a Confucian (or even Buddhist) society won’t react positively to taking down a 68 year old as though he were a violent criminal.  But since DPRK has supplanted a great deal of their religion for Juche, the lens likely yields less of a sense of outrage.  Most North Koreans have probably seen far worse.  I’m not arguing that it’s right, just that most North Koreans are likely inured to violence.

    Thanks for keeping the world informed.

    • NK NEWS

      Thanks for the comment.

      One wonders what would have happened if the crowd had lost control (real or fake) and stormed across the DMZ to help him out.  

      Any idea of what ROK military are instructed to do if people  try and move over?

      Perhaps DPRK soldiers would have prevented it themselves, I guess.


      • 盖罗杰 강로저

        I think KPA/DPRK are keenly aware of ROK Rules of Engagement.  Soldier stance offers some insight.  ROK soldiers face North, deterring civilians from running south, but once south, preventing KPA from chasing those who made the big escape. 

        KPA soldiers facing toward center preventing North Koreans from moving south. 

        Under normal circumstances, the KPA usually face North, but this one required a modification.

        What was seen on the South side of MDL (in the video)  was likely a very small fraction of what was available.

        What was seen on the North side of MDL was likely a large portion of what was available.

        Both sides knew this was performance art at its best and neither one wanted to cross that invisble line.

        KPA incursions across MDL until 1976 usually resulted in ROK and even U.S. casualties.  After Bonifas and Barret were murdered in the Axe incident, there was a more self-protective ROE.  KPA discovered this in 1984 when chasing after a defector.  3 KPA KIA, 5 KPA WIA.

        Since then JSA has been tense, but non-fatal. 

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