Kim Jong Un credited North Korea’s “military muscle” and nuclear deterrent for the peaceful resolution to a conflict with South Korea at a meeting of Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) Central Military Commission. Although he praised the agreement as a “crucial landmark occasion,” he still fired a number of high-level military advisers for unknown reasons.
North Korea’s government-controlled new agency KCNA released a few translated quotes from Kim Jong Un from the meeting last Friday.
“The joint press release published at the contact provided a crucial landmark occasion of defusing the acute military tension and putting the catastrophic inter-Korean relations on the track of reconciliation and trust.”
According to Reuters, the North and South settled the most recent bout on early Tuesday. Kim Jong Un explained in the meeting that it wasn’t diplomacy that saved the day, but nuclear missiles and soldiers.
“[The accord was reached] thanks to the tremendous military muscle with the nuclear deterrent for self-defence built by the great party as a pivot and matchless ranks single-mindedly united around the party.”
The conflict began when a landmine planted by North Korean forces killed two South Korean soldiers. The deaths prompted the South to set up giant loudspeakers to broadcast propaganda into the North.
Observers say North Korea became anxious over the broadcasts. According to Fox News, they were worried the propaganda would demoralize troops and border residents in the state that has zero tolerance for political dissent.
Senior researcher Chang Yong Seok from Seoul National University explained, “North Korea could have thought about some sort of heightened tension but not like this.”
The New York Times reports that the conflict resulted in brief exchanges of gunfire last week. But both sides agreed to negotiate at the border village of Panmunjom, while also preparing their countries for war.
Kim Jong Un insists that the North proposed the border talks “on its own initiative and put under control the situation, which inched close to an armed conflict, thereby clearing the dark clouds of war.”
On Tuesday, South Korea switched off the loudspeakers after the North expressed “regret” over the two soldiers who died from the landmines, as per the agreement. Still, the language of the deal was vague enough to allow Kim Jong Un’s regime to continue denying that they planted the landmines.
Despite Kim’s praise of the deal, he still fired a number of officials from the military commission. There were no reasons given, but experts say it was punishment for not correctly predicting the South’s reactions to the landmines.
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