Update 10/03/2017: At around 1738 KST, the male anchor of the state-run broadcaster Korean Central Television (KCTV) read the same statement uploaded on Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) earlier in the day.
North Korean state-run media covered the South Korean Constitutional Court’s final judgment on the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye on Friday, with coverage that was exceptional both in its timeliness and its evenhandedness.
“According to the reports from Seoul, the ‘Constitutional Court’ pronounced the impeachment of Park Geun-hye on (March) 10 amid ongoing mass struggle of South Korean peopled demanding the impeachment of Park Geun-hye,” Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Friday.
KCNA released the report less than three hours after the impeachment was upheld by South Korea’s Constitutional Court at 1123 KST (2123 EST) – an almost unprecedentedly fast response.
North Korean media tends to be slow to cover news from outside the DPRK. Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), covered the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump two days after it took place.
“The ‘Constitutional Court’ – which has been on trial for three months for the impeachment motion of Park Geun-hye which was passed by South Korea’s ‘National Assembly’ on December 9 last year – decided the impeachment of Park Geun-hye based on the unanimous verdict by the eight-judge panel,” KCNA said.
“Park Geun-hye is said to have been removed from the ‘presidency’ a year before her terms in office and will receive a full-fledged investigation as a common criminal in the future.”
Other state-run media outlets have kept quiet about the Constitutional Court’s announcement.
A Seoul-based expert said its response time is “unprecedented,” adding that it hints at the level of DPRK interest in improving relations with the next South Korean President. He also said he was surprised about the terms used by KCNA.
“I am surprised to read ‘mass struggle of South Koreans’ and Park being investigated as ‘as a common criminal’, the terms like these will soon be printed on the DPRK’s internal media as well,” Jeong Kuk-jin, a former researcher at the MBC Unification Broadcasting Research Center, told NK News.
A senior researcher at a Ministry of National Defense (MND)-affiliated organization – who wished to remain anonymous – said that KCNA mainly targets external readers, unlike state-run broadcaster Korean Central Television (KCTV), which delivers information to North Koreans.
“If Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported the news [first], it targets South Korean people.”
At around 1738 KST, the male anchor of the state-run broadcaster KCTV read the same statement uploaded on KCNA earlier in the day. Broadcast of KCTV started at 1530 KST, and the news was delivered at 1730 KST.
EMERGENCY GUARD IN SEOUL
Meanwhile, South Korea’s Prime Minister’s Office and MND said the government has stepped up the country’s security.
After the Constitutional Court’s unanimous decision, South Korean Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn “urgently instructed” the South Korean military to “strengthen public security,” the Prime Minister confirmed to media on Friday.
Hwang will hold a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) at Seoul’s government complex at 1600 KST.
South Korea’s Minister of National Defense Han Min-koo also held a video conference with leading commanders, urging them to maintain a “watertight defense posture” and clearly recognize the “severity of the security situation.”
“It is possible that North Korea [will] make strategic and operational provocation at any time… it has ratcheted up threats by launching the ballistic missiles twice recently,” the MND quoted Han as saying in a written statement.
Han also underscored that the South’s military should prepare military readiness to “sternly respond to… provocation,” saying the military “becomes more crucial as the country faces difficulty.”
Additional Reporting: JH Ahn
Featured Image: Screen Grab of Korean Central News Agency (KCNA)
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