NK leader calls S. Korea ‘primary foe,’ vows to protect country with power

Bomi Yoon

 North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his daughter, Ju-ae,  pose for a group photo during a visit to the North's  defense ministry, Feb. 8, in this photo released by the Korean Central News Agency the following day. Yonhap

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his daughter, Ju-ae, pose for a group photo during a visit to the North’s defense ministry, Feb. 8, in this photo released by the Korean Central News Agency the following day. Yonhap

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has again called South Korea the North’s “primary foe” and vowed to guard the country through power rather than negotiations, state media said Friday.

Kim’s remarks came as the North has recently abandoned its decadeslong policy of seeking reunification with the South and called for codifying the commitment to “completely occupying” South Korean territory in the event of war.

“Defining the South Korean puppets as the most harmful primary foe and invariable principal enemy and deciding it as a national policy to occupy their territory in the event of a contingency is a reasonable measure for the eternal safety of our country and the peace and stability of the future,” Kim was quoted as saying by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Officials gather for a ceremony marking North Korea's armed forces founding anniversary, Feb. 8, as leader Kim Jong-un pays a visit to the defense ministry, in this photo released by the Korean Central News Agency the following day. Yonhap

Officials gather for a ceremony marking North Korea’s armed forces founding anniversary, Feb. 8, as leader Kim Jong-un pays a visit to the defense ministry, in this photo released by the Korean Central News Agency the following day. Yonhap

Kim also called for full-fledged combat readiness based on more powerful military as he spoke during a visit to the defense ministry to mark the 76th founding anniversary of the North’s Korean People’s Army on Thursday, according to the KCNA.

“Peace is not something that should be begged for or gained in exchange for talks,” Kim said, adding the North no longer has to go through the “unrealistic ordeal” of engaging in talks and cooperation with the South.

North Korea has been ramping up harsh-worded criticism and military provocations against the South since Kim defined inter-Korean ties as relations between “two states hostile to each other” in a year-end party meeting, saying there was no point in seeking reunification.

Kim was accompanied by his daughter, Ju-ae, who also attended a banquet celebrating the military founding anniversary, the KCNA said. (Yonhap)

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