North Korea Using Photos of South Korean President for Target Practice

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images
Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

United Press International (UPI) reports that North Korean soldiers are using pictures of South Korean President Park Geun-hye for target practice. They are putting pictures of her on targets and blasting away, with the “training session” broadcast by the dictatorship’s TV station as propaganda. A few other prominent South Korean politicians were also given the target practice treatment.

The North Koreans, never the most friendly or cheerful of neighbors, have invested a great deal of effort in insulting South Korean President Park Geun-hye. Considering what else North Korea is guilty of, criticizing them for rank misogyny seems almost like nitpicking, but they’ve called her a “bitch,” described her as an “animal,” insulted her age and appearance, treated her like a peasant girl with no place in government, and said she was mentally defective.

Furthermore, this little display accompanied a military tour of the “Sinchon Museum of American War Atrocities,” which is exactly what one would expect, given the name. UPI reports that North Korean troops “held a meeting where they vowed retaliation” after touring the facility.

The backdrop for the target practice footage included a banner reading “Death to U.S. Imperialists,” which is presumably supposed to make the point that South Korea’s elected leaders are mere puppets of the American empire. The North Koreans apparently believe that empire is in much better shape than, say, Iran does.

Let it not be said that political target practice is a purely one-sided insult on the Korean peninsula. UPI recalls North Korean displeasure over South Korean troops using photos of dictator Kim Jong-un and his father, Kim Jong-il, for target practice in 2011.

In other Korean War memorial festivities, Pyongyang created its own time zone, half an hour behind the one it formerly shared with Japan. The New York Post reports this came as an annoying surprise to South Korea, which was probably one of the reasons North Korea did it.

It is not the first time either Korea has sought to break away from the Japanese time zone, which was extended to cover the Korean peninsula during a historical period the residents do not recall fondly. On the other hand, the NYP wryly notes that North Korea is already isolated enough without taking steps that make it even more difficult for other nations to interact with. Also, they have already made themselves pests by rewriting the calendar to begin again with the birth of North Korea’s founder, Kim Il-Sung, making this the year Juche 104 by North Korean count.

Since it would not be a North Korean celebration without a body count, this week, the dictatorship also chose to confirm that the reason Vice-Premier Choe Yong Gon has not been seen around Pyongyang since December is that Kim Jong-un had him executed in May. The late Mr. Choe was a prominent advocate of economic reforms and trade with South Korea. The reforms were seen as a failure, and Kim certainly was not going to take the blame. The method of his execution was not disclosed in the Reuters story about his demise, but not long ago, Kim punished a military officer for falling asleep during meetings by having him blown to pieces with an anti-aircraft gun.


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