A North Korean document supports the conclusion that North Korea attacked the Navy corvette Cheonan and Yeonpyeong Island last year to whip up domestic support for the succession of leader Kim Jong-il's son, Jong-un.
The document, which the Chosun Ilbo obtained from a source in China on Tuesday, claims that Kim junior was deeply involved in both attacks. Titled "Lecture Materials," the document was apparently drawn up for military propaganda officers early this year.
According to its wording, Kim Jong-un told military leaders that the inter-Korean situation "will become very tense in February and March." He made the comments around the end of January last year, two months before the attack on the Cheonan. The document claims South Korea and the U.S. "concocted a plot about the sinking of the Cheonan, but it failed."
The source, who claims to do frequent business with trading companies under the North Korean Workers Party, said that propaganda officers have been indoctrinating North Korean soldiers to show absolute loyalty to Kim Jong-un based on those materials. "They even have to take a test after their indoctrination classes," he said.
Whether or not Kim junior anticipated the tensions resulting from the attacks, it is clear that the regime is determined to make political capital from assigning the responsibility to him.
As for the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, it read: "As the South made a fuss about defending the Northern Limit Line [the de facto maritime border], [Kim Jong-un] stressed the need to kick the enemy in the teeth."
"He made sure that multiple rocket launchers and coast artillery batteries would be mobilized and a torrent of shells would pound waters near Baeknyeong and Yeonpyeong Islands several times," the document added.
The North fired a barrage of shells in the waters near the east of Baeknyeong Island in late January of last year. Ten months later, it shelled Yeonpyeong Island in a similar manner.
The document apparently acknowledges that sailors were wounded aboard a North Korean patrol boat that was partially destroyed as a result of bombardment by a South Korean Navy patrol boat in a skirmish near Daecheong Island in November 2009.
Immediately after the skirmish, Kim Jong-un ordered the North Korean Navy to take steps to evacuate and treat the wounded, the document claims.
"You must save their lives at all cost so that they can take their revenge. This is my order," he is quoted as saying. At the time, the regime kept quiet about the casualties in the humiliating defeat.
The document attempts to present the younger Kim, who is in his late 20s and has no military experience, as a warrior figure.
"We must lay down the South Sea at the feet of the leader [regime founder Kim Il-sung], who rests his head on Mt. Baekdu," the document quotes him as saying. "I'll drive a tank to Seoul myself."
A Beijing-based North Korea expert said the regime made an all-out effort to establish a record of military achievement for Kim junior, and the document evidently aims to show that he masterminded the attacks.