N.Korea Steps Up Propaganda to Influence Elections in South

      May 28, 2010 10:35

      Part of the reason for North Korea's recent barrage of threatening statements and furious denials over the sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan is apparently an attempt to influence the upcoming local elections here in favor of the Left, which it hopes will be more amenable to resuming free-flowing aid.

      In yet another denial Thursday, a committee nominally tasked with implementing a 2000 agreement between the two Koreas claimed Seoul is "making desperate efforts to avert a crisis by fabricating the sinking."

      A South Korean security official said, "It's evident that the North is attempting to disparage the findings of the Cheonan inquiry as a South Korean plot to turn the situation" to the ruling party's advantage. "The North seems determined to influence the elections."

      The North regularly threatens dire consequences before elections unless South Koreans vote the way it wants.

      One North Korean media outlet after another has published similar stories. The official Korean Central News Agency said on Tuesday the "Lee Myung-bak clique" has "intentionally fabricated" the sinking to maintain its "fascist rule" in the local elections smoothly."

      The Minju Chosun last Sunday claimed the announcement of findings was deliberately timed to tilt the elections in favor of the conservatives and added, "South Koreans should pass judgment on the conservative clique."

      Other events also merit comment from the North. Last Sunday, the first anniversary of former president Roh Moo-hyun's death, the official Rodong Sinmun said Roh, who met North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in 2007 and promised more economic aid, "was murdered by the conservative clique. The upcoming elections will be an opportunity for the people to pass judgment on the murderous regime."

      A government official said these propaganda statements "have been parroted by pro-Pyongyang organizations and some opposition members in the country. In other words, the North's tactics are working well."

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