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North Korea Tells South Korea to Attend Kim Jong-il’s Funeral

North Korea Tells South Korea to Attend Kim Jong-il’s Funeral

South Korea’s decision not to send a government delegation to next week’s funeral for Kim Jong-il is “an unbearable insult and mockery of our dignity,” North Korea said on Friday. South Korea must “show proper respect,” according to a statement from the North’s official Web site, Uriminzokkiri.com, that is its first comment on South Korean policy since reports of Kim’s death from a heart attack on Saturday surfaced.

North Korea’s statement also called on “the South’s authorities” to “think about the grave impact its actions will have on North-South relations” and warned — threatened — that the South’s response could “thaw or completely derail” relations between the two countries, which remain technically at war.

North Korea’s state media says that no state dignitaries have been invited to next Wednesday’s funeral, but that South Koreans are being encouraged to travel to Pyongyang, North Korean’s capital, to pay their respects. Mourning for the deceased dictator is to continue until December 29 and thousands of North Koreans have been filing past Kim’s glass-encased body or bowing before pictures of him in respect. The sight of thousands of North Koreans distraught and weeping in public, whether staged or genuine, attests to the “power and totality” of propaganda in North Korea, comments Max Fisher in The Atlantic.

Seoul and Washington have issued coordinated statements about the death of North Korea’s “Dear Leader,” notes the New York Times:

[Both] were careful to direct their “sympathy” or “prayers” to the “North Korean people,” not to the regime, in contrast to Beijing and Moscow, which sent their official condolences to Pyongyang.

“With regard to ‘the c word,’ I think we didn’t considerate it appropriate in this case,” Victoria Nuland, a State Department spokeswoman, said in Washington.

The South Korean government is seeking to avoid any sign of approving of Kim’s legacy while also wishing to “relay hopes for a stable transition in Pyongyang and a more productive relationship with the North.” Seoul has  said that private organizations and individuals can fax or email condolences. Some South Korean religious and civic organizations have asked if private delegations can attend the funeral as a way of improving relations, but some activists have had other ideas, including sending giant balloons to the north that say “Why send condolences to the Evil?”.

The guest list for the funeral is itself giving rise to speculation. The Guardian says that one of the few non-Koreans invited is  Tenko Hikita, a Japanese celebrity magician who was invited to perform in Pyongyang at Kim Jong-il’s request in 2008 and 2010, and who reportedly had several private dinners with him. Not on the list is Kim’s oldest son, Kim Jong-nam, who lives in effective exile in Macau:

…the 40-year-old ruled himself out of succession plans when he was caught attempting to enter Japan on a fake passport in 2001, saying he wanted to visit Tokyo Disneyland. His detention, and immediate deportation, proved a huge embarrassment for the North Korean authorities.

Jong-nam failed where the leader-in-waiting, his youngest brother Kim Jong-un, had apparently succeeded. Jong-un made a visit to Tokyo Disneyland in 1991, when he was aged about eight, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said. Accompanied by his elder brother, Jong-chul, he entered Japan on a fake Brazilian passport and stayed for 11 days. He had left by the time Japanese security agents began tracking his whereabouts, the newspaper said.

Ko Young-hee, the mother of Kim Jong-il’s youngest son and heir, Kim Jong-un, was actually born in the Japanese port city of Osaka, to an ethnic Korean family. About 600,000 Koreans live in Japan; they are mostly the descendants of Koreans forced to work in Japan during World War II.

On Friday, the Japanese government said that, should “several leading members of the general association of Korean residents in Japan – North Korea’s de facto embassy” — travel to North Korea to attend Kim’s funeral, they will not be allowed to re-enter. The day before, a moment of silence was observed in the United Nations General Assembly for Kim Jong-il; Japan, the US and the members of the European Union all boycotted.

 

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Photo of Kim Jong-il mural in Pyongyang by John Pavelka

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40 comments

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5:09PM PST on Dec 30, 2011

Why are so many people attacking North Korea? It was Kim Jong Ill that was the monster. The people are innocent victims trapped in a totalitarian dictatorship.

7:14AM PST on Dec 28, 2011

You know all of the Americans on here making anti-communist statements and everything else are really not helping the situation.
If you're going on like a bigot about North Korea,
you just going to give them more reason to get more people on their side.
North Korea is a total dictatorship.
That's for damn sure,
but please don't throw gas on the fire.

6:40PM PST on Dec 27, 2011

When Romney heard the news of Kim Jong Ill death, he released a press statement to the North Korean people, "I am sadden by the loss of your dear leader, Kim Jong, the 3rd."

I for one, am so proud to have our brightest, best educated minds in control of our lives...run, while you can, the insane are running the asylum.

6:34PM PST on Dec 27, 2011

"So, I just got use to saying Kim Jong Ill,
I now have to get use to saying Kim Jong Dead.

So, if Geo Bush died, would he become Geo Bushwacked. Just thinking.

What a crazy world, Kim Baby a tribute to you.

Heres to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or villify them. About the only thing you cant do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, I see genius. Because the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. ~Jack Kerouac"

1:33PM PST on Dec 27, 2011

Well this site is called CARE 2? Why do I see so much hate? Hate North Korea and Love U.S.? so the obvious conclusion is that south korea wish for war to exist.

4:18PM PST on Dec 26, 2011

UP YOURS NORTH KOREA. GO TO HELL! LOVE, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. HUGS AND KISSES XOXOXOXO

1:27AM PST on Dec 26, 2011

It would have been a good gesture if the South Korea official delegation had gone to attended the funeral of their leader it would bring the two countries closer in to solving the problems but it looks their is a third force which do not want peace in that area for their own interest and of course that is American GOVT
As for the remarks that it is like Indian asking Pakistan to attend funeral of one of their leaders for you kind information Pakistan had voluntarily have attended the funeral of many dignitaries this all ways create a good will among the countries and help reduce the tension

11:17PM PST on Dec 24, 2011

North Korea doesn't seem to know anything else but intimidation, bullying, arrogance and how to make people suffer. I didn't think there was much chance the new ruler would be any different from the old one. Sad situation.

8:03PM PST on Dec 24, 2011

I would be afraid of attending the funeral and then never being allowed to leave the country!

7:23PM PST on Dec 24, 2011

In this day in age the Only thing North and South Korea have in common are the latter part of the name and their language, for the rest they are completely different countries, so why should the south attend the funeral? They are not the same country. It would be like isreal asking Palestinians or Indians asking Pakistanis to mourn for a deceased leader.

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