A North Korean diplomat raised the specter of the “final destruction” of South Korea at a United Nations peace forum in Geneva.
Jon Yong-ryong, a senior envoy from the DPRK’s UN mission to Geneva, said at the conference on disarmament that South Korea’s capricious behavior will only invite its “final destruction,” quoting a famous Korean proverb which is roughly equivalent to “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”
“As the saying goes,” he said, “a new-born puppy knows no fear of a tiger.”
His remarks followed the meeting’s collective condemnation of Pyongyang’s third nuclear test conducted shortly after the Lunar New Year’s Holiday. He rebutted the denunciation by saying the test was a stern response to foreign interference.
Using harsh language against its southern brethren is nothing new for the North. It habitually resorts to literally inflammatory rhetoric, ranging from the “sea of fire” fate it promised Seoul in March 1994 during the course of talks to exchange special emissaries for the resumption of high-level talks to the dreadful remarks last April by the supreme headquarters of the North Korean People’s Army which said, “We will blow up everything in Seoul.” We wonder if Pyongyang can manage to come up with more outrageous remarks in the future.
Though we don’t have to respond to bellicose threats too sensitively, the North went too far this time. “Final destruction” is a phrase against humanity reminiscent of the “final solution” Adolf Hitler used to attempt a complete annihilation of the Jews during World War II.
North Korea has taken a step closer to the deployment of nuclear weapons after a successful test on Feb. 12. Nuclear arms are absolute weapons that can nullify the deterrence of conventional weapons. A single bomb can wreak havoc on all of Seoul. The recalcitrant regime threatened to turn Seoul into a sea of fire through the launch of thousands of artillery deployed across the tense border. Now, after almost 20 years, it threatens its southern counterparts with nuclear weapons.
The North says its nuclear weapons are aimed at America. But the ratcheted-up rhetoric of “final destruction” says otherwise. In a nutshell, Pyongyang wants to shake South Korea as wildly as possible by making South Koreans hostage to its nuclear arsenal. The government must precisely read the intention of the North and come up with extraordinary measures to cope with the menace diplomatically and militarily. It will be extremely naive if the government downplays the new threat as a mere daydream.