North Korean propaganda sites and publications in South Korea have begun agitating against the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization (CVID) of the communist Kim Jong-un regime. South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported Tuesday that one such outlet called any North Korean supporting denuclearization a “traitor.”
“The flunkeys and quislings who are barking out a ‘CVID’ of North Korea are traitors of our nation,” the South Korea-based Jaju Sibo propaganda newspaper asserted, referring to the acronym for complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization.
CVID is the highest standard of denuclearization, exemplified in the process that ended Libya’s illegal nuclear program under dictator Muammar Qaddafi. North Korea’s regime is suspicious of CVID because Qaddafi ultimately met a violent death at the hands of a mob after revolts affiliated with the Arab Spring, though there is no evidence that an illegal nuclear weapons program would have helped him remain in power.
According to Chosun Ilbo, the Jaju Sibo piece also appeared on the propaganda site Sogwang, which operates as a smaller wing separate from the flagship North Korean media outlets.
“How many efforts has [North] Korea, or our nation, made to build such a nuclear force?” the column asked. “Think about whether the U.S., an arrogant, mean and vicious country, could have shaken hands with [North] Korea if it had not had any nuclear force.”
“The flunkeys and quislings who are barking out a ‘CVID’ of North Korea are traitors of our nation,” it declared.
The piece follows a report in Reuters that the U.S. State Department is close to concluding the drafting of a list of “specific asks” for North Korea on the road to denuclearization.
“We’ll know pretty soon if they’re going to operate in good faith or not,” an unnamed official told reporters, according to Reuters. “There will be specific asks and there will be a specific timeline when we present the North Koreans with our concept of what implementation of the summit agreement looks like.”
Prior to his unprecedented diplomatic campaign this year, dictator Kim used his national media outlets to regularly threaten the nuclear annihilation of the United States. In an about-face following the sending of a delegation to the PyeongChang, South Korea, Winter Olympics, Kim invited senior South Korean diplomats to visit Pyongyang, where he reportedly told them that the “dying wish” of his father, Kim Jong-il, was the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. He soon agreed to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, which he did on two occasions, and President Donald Trump, with whom he signed a joint declaration on June 12.
The declaration calls for the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” The statement did not specify whether this statement meant North Korea would end its nuclear program or whether, as it had in the past, it had used the term “denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” to mean the removal of American assets from the region. South Korean conservatives decried the declaration and summit generally as a “great failure” because it did not include the CVID language or clarify the definition of denuclearization.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted to reporters the following day that the CVID language was unnecessary because “the ‘complete’ encompasses verifiable in the minds of everyone concerned. One can’t completely denuclearize without validating, authenticating – you pick the word.” An irritated Pompeo told reporters that it was “just wrong” to claim that “verifiable” and “irreversible” denuclearization were not part of the agreement because of the absence of those words in the agreement.
North Korea has modified its behavior since the summit. This weekend, Pyongyang canceled its largest annual anti-American exercises, the “Victory in the Fatherland Liberation War” rally, typically scheduled in proximity to American Independence Day, July 4.
KCNA and Rodong Sinmun have also limited their criticism of the United States significantly, instead targeting Japan. In a column Tuesday, KCNA called Japan “just thick-headed in politics though it is allegedly good at finance” because Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed a willingness to help Pyongyang denuclearize.
The tenor and much of the content of the piece at Sogwang diverts significantly from what has appeared in the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the main news outlet of North Korea, and Rodong Sinmun, North Korea’s state newspaper. (Private media are illegal in North Korea.) Another piece on Sogwang’s front page at press time highlights support from “Korean mothers” for North Korea’s nuclear weapons.
“We know that we cannot compete with the United States of America, but … our Korean mothers are preparing for the final battle with the United States by giving all their lives for love and peace,” the piece stated, quoting an unnamed mother as saying, “Nuclear deterrence is our dignity, life, love, and peace. I know how much blood, sweat, effort, and money it takes to make it.”