Today (June 25, 2020) marks the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, which started on June 25, 1950. In recent days, tensions rose again on the Korean peninsular due to resumption of provocations by North Korea, which were recently halted by special remarks made by Chairman Kim Jong-Un of the (North) Korean Workers Party.
Chairman Kim called off a series of military provocations against the Republic of Korea (south), which had recently been waged against the South by his younger sister, Vice-Chairperson Kim Yo-Jong of the Workers Party, the Number 2 leader in North Korea.
Beginning on June 4, on orders of Vice-Chairperson Kim, North Korea had carried out a series of extremely provocative acts, including the substantial demolition of the ROK-NK Liaison Office building in Kaesong north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in the western sector of the line.
According to the (North) Korean Central News Agency, Chairman Kim on June 23 presided over a preparatory Central Military Commission meeting and suspend plans proposed by the General Staff of the (North) Korean People’s Army.
Earlier on June 14, Vice-Chairperson Kim Yo-jong announced plans to increase military presence along the DMZ and to resume propaganda activities as part of the North’s retaliation against leaflets sent by South Korean civic organizations led by North Korean defectors in the South.
However, North Korea did not say that it will not do what Vice-Chairman Kim Yo-jong has warned against the South but that it has decided to defer the series of actions declared by Vice Chairperson Kim. So, it does not mean that tensions have disappeared but that there has re-opened an opportunity to resume the inter-Korean dialog and détente.
On the sudden change of attitude on the part of North Korea announced by Chairman Kim, there are various speculations in the ROK.
Recent reports in the ROK point to the possibility of various difficulties worsening in North Korea, including the unreported widespread COVID-19 disease and aggravating the good situation in the North.
There are reports that the citizens of Pyongyang, the capital city of North Korea, have not received their food rations for the past three months and that there have been cases of death due to starvation.
There also are reports that citizens of Pyongyang, the capital city of North Korea, have started grumbling that nuclear weapons their leaders have developed were causing an extreme shortage of rice and even cases of starvation to death. Reports indicate that North Korea has recently made provocative acts to hold South Korea responsible for the extreme shortage of food in North Korea attributing the cause of the situation to the international sanctions placed on North Korea.
There are reports that the Pyongyang citizens have not been able to receive food rations since April this year.
Reports also indicate that COVID-19 resumed wide-spreading in North Korea beginning in early June this year which forced the markets to close down and restricted the movement of the citizens.
Reports indicate that the food situation in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, is better than any other city or district in North Korea, which is well attested to by the remarks of Chairman Kim Jong-Un who discussed on June 7 at the Central Committee of the Workers Party on ways to secure smooth supply of food for the citizens of the Pyongyang City.
It is widely known that Chairman Kim once remarked, “Whatever the difficulties may be as long as the People’s Army and the citizens of Pyongyang are alright our country will be alright.”