A sign with an anti-China message has been hung at North Korea’s Gang Gun Military Academy, a conservative South Korean daily reported on Monday.
The source used by the Chosun Ilbo newspaper, however, was unnamed, a practice for which it has been criticized in the past.
Gang Gun Military Academy, the site where the sign, reading “China is a betrayer and is our enemy” was allegedly hung, is one of North Korea’s higher military education institutions, nurturing high-level generals.
However, the move would not be unprecedented at the academy and the report came as South Korean President Park Geun-hye has met Xi Jinping, the President of the People’s Republic of China, on Sunday (local time) at the Nuclear Security Summit in Netherlands.
“(If the Chosun’s report is true) a meeting of two presidents from South Korea and China has likely affected North Korea’s decision to hang the sign again,” said Ahn Chan-il, president of the World Institute For North Korea Studies.
Ahn said that North Korea has for some time been afraid of having its political and economic system affected by China.
“China has successfully adopted a market economy while maintaining its communist idea. But Pyongyang knows it will be impossible for North Korea to do same thing,” Ahn said.
“That’s why North Korea is afraid of China’s influence, and hanging the sign is one of its efforts to resist any kind of influence from China.”
Though the news of the sign could not be independently verified, it would not be the first time North Korea has displayed a negative message about China. When South Korea and China officially established a diplomatic relations in 1992, Kim Il Sung, the first North Korean leader, visited the Gang Gun Military Academy, telling cadets that China was an enemy of North Korea and that the North might have to go to war with China.
At that time, a sign of this nature was hung at the academy for the first time.
A sign like this was once again hung at the academy on Kim Jong Un’s orders when China joined in international sanctions from the UN last year, and Kim stressed that North Korea should reconsider its attitude toward China.
The Chosun is a conservative daily noted for its anti-North stance, and it has been criticized for sensationalistic reporting on the North based on unverified sources in the past.
Picture: Roman Harak, Flickr Creative Commons