N.Korean Regime Consolidating Personality Cult

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been boasting to officials that he could reunify the Korean Peninsula by force within three years, the National Intelligence Service claimed Tuesday.

NIS chief Nam Jae-joon was quoted by lawmaker Cho Won-jin as telling the National Assembly's Intelligence Committee, "The North Korean regime is rebuilding and consolidating its monolithic rule."

According to the NIS, the regime revised wartime guidelines to make it clear that it will declare war on South Korea if there is a pro-North Korean uprising in the South and rebels ask it for help.

The Workers Party also recently revised its 10 founding principles to demand "absolute obedience" to Kim Jong-un.

The regime apparently remains committed to reunification through communization of South Korea, as well as one-man dictatorship, nuclear weapons, and the songun or military-first doctrine.

In a bid to boost the personality cult, the regime has beautified the tomb of Kim's mother Ko Yong-hui and is forcing North Koreans to pay their respects there.

But more North Koreans are becoming cynical about Kim's leadership, the NIS says. Self-protection is the order of the day.

It cited the example of the regime last month ordering the children of diplomats home from their studies abroad, but backing down when the diplomats protested.

With regard to North Korea’s nuclear program, the NIS said that to produce plutonium and highly-enriched uranium the regime restarted the 5 MW nuclear reactor at Yongbyon in August and conducted an engine test for long-range missiles at Tongchangri in North Pyongan Province.

Operation of the reactor stopped in 2007 under an agreement reached in six-party talks.

The North is also reinforcing artillery forces targeting the Seoul metropolitan area and five South Korean islands off its southwestern coast.

It deployed new 240 mm multiple rocket launchers north of Seoul and 122 mm MRLs on islands near Baeknyeong Island, the NIS added. The regime will likely deploy more of such artillery pieces along the east coast and in the frontline area in the future.

englishnews@chosun.com / Oct. 10, 2013 13:06 KST