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  • Hong Jeong-su

[North Korea] Never-Ending Cold War and NIS

No.163 / Apr 17, 2023


The National Intelligence Service (NIS) and police announced on January 28 that they executed arrest warrants for Kim and three other persons in Seoul and Changwon-si on suspicion of violating the National Security Act. The four are accused of forming a group called the People’s Front Line for Unification of Independence in 2016 subsequently contacting North Korean agents in Cambodia and elsewhere, receiving instructions and payments, and collecting and reporting domestic information to Pyeongyang under the direction of the North Korean propaganda organization, the Agency for Cultural Exchange. They are also accused of conducting anti-Yoon Seok-yeol government, anti-Japanese, anti-American, and pro-North Korean campaigns. More precisely, the group formed “the community regarding Anti-Yoon’s Regime” last year and has been campaigning for the president’s removal under the name of the “Second Candlelight Revolution” in response to the decline in his popularity following the Itaewon tragedy. The group has also focused on showing hostility toward the United States (U.S.), including rallies calling for an end to U.S.-South Korea joint air drills. When Kim Jong-un attempted to visit Seoul during Moon Jae-in’s presidency, they wrote online comments in praise of Kim, creating public opinion in favor of North Korea.

They are also accused of infiltrating labor unions and civil society organizations and intervening in the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering union strike. The strike cost Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering 81 billion won in losses, and the company filed a 47 billion won lawsuit against the union for damages. Moreover, it was revealed that the group received local government subsidies for pro-North Korean, anti-America education through a Changwon civil society organization. People’s Front Line for Unification of Independence-affiliated organizations, Unification and Peace, and the 6.15 Gyeongnam Headquarters, promoted projects such as inter-Korean exchange cooperation, history education, and peace concerts. They received approximately 460 million won in subsidies from Gyeongsangnam-do municipal government and GyeongSangnam-do Office of Education from 2018 to last year. People’s Front Line for Unification of Independence members served as executives and lecturers for the affiliated organizations. Testimonials from education participants included statements such as “North Korea was a good country,” and some students drew pictures of Korean independence fighter Yoo Kwan-soon leading the independence movement with a North Korean flag.

Meanwhile, the NIS’s counterintelligence powers are scheduled to be abolished in January 2024, according to the 2020 revision of the National Intelligence Service Act. In this regard, the ruling party has raised concerns that the NIS’s decades of counterintelligence know-how would be sold off, and the police would lack the manpower and capacity to conduct counterintelligence investigations. In response, the Democratic Party has criticized the passage of the abolition bill, calling it a return to a police state. National security is more important than ever as the U.S.-China hegemonic rivalry intensifies, with Russia invading Ukraine and China threatening to attack Taiwan. We should not lose sightt of th efact that korean war is still cease-fire, not an end.


 

By Hong Jeong-su, AG Cub Reporter

sv0418@ajou.ac.kr


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