[In this Feb. 7, 2013 photo, a picture of Mao Zedong, founder of the People’s Republic of China, right, and North Korea’s late leader Kim Il Sung is displayed on the Hekou Bridge, which once linked China and North Korea before it was bombed in the 1950′s during the Korean War, in Hekou, China. China’s patience with North Korea is wearing thin, and a widely-expected nuclear weapons test by the latter could bring that frustration to a head. AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko]

MANILA, APRIL 8, 2013 (INQUIRER) If Kim Il-Sung, founder of North Korea, were alive today, he would not allow his country and South Korea to come as close to another war as they have done now, according to former House Speaker Jose de Venecia.(photo at right)

Speaking at the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (Icapp) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Wednesday, De Venecia said he remembered Kim telling him in July 1990 that a new conflict on the Korean Peninsula would bring no benefit to either North or South but instead devastate both countries.

“With our weapons, we can destroy the South. But we in the North will also be destroyed. So what is there to gain in waging another Korean war?” De Venecia quoted Kim as telling him at the North Korean leader’s home outside Pyongyang in answer to his question whether the North intended to invade the South.

Korean War

The 1950-53 Korean War killed three million to four million people and generated four million refugees from a peninsula with only 30 million people.

North Korea and South Korea, separated by a demilitarized zone at the 38th parallel, technically remains at war with each other, as the conflict did not end in a peace treaty but in an armistice that only halted hostilities between the two countries.

That status makes Saturday’s declaration by the North of a state of war with the South mean nothing more than bellicose rhetoric intended to win concessions from the United States and its allies who are trying to make it give up its nuclear weapons program.

On Thursday the North warned that it had authorized its military to strike US targets with small nuclear weapons, but experts believe Pyongyang does not yet have the ability to launch nuclear-tipped missiles, although they admit that its other nuclear capabilities are not fully known.

Diplomatic relations

De Venecia, then acting chair of the House committee on foreign relations, led a congressional delegation to Pyongyang in a bid to cut North Korean support to the communist New People’s Army (NPA).

The visit by De Venecia’s delegation led to the opening of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and North Korea.

De Venecia, who served five terms as House Speaker, has led Icapp since his retirement from electoral politics.

The organization has 318 ruling and opposition parties in 52 Asian countries as members.


[Kim Il-sung, also romanised as Kim Il Sung was the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly referred to as North Korea, from its establishment in 1948 until his death in 1994]

Kim Il-sung Korean pronunciation: [͈ɔŋ], also romanised as Kim Il Sung (15 April 1912 – 8 July 1994) was the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly referred to as North Korea, from its establishment in 1948 until his death in 1994.

He held the posts of Prime Minister from 1948 to 1972 and President from 1972 to his death. He was also the leader of the Workers' Party of Korea from 1949 to 1994 (titled as chairman from 1949 to 1966 and as general secretary after 1966).

He invaded South Korea in 1950, and almost succeeded in overrunning the entire peninsula but for UN and American intervention. The Korean War, sometimes referred to as the Korean Civil War, ended with an armistice on July 27, 1953.

His tenure as leader of North Korea has often been described as autocratic and he established an all-pervasive cult of personality.

The North Korean cult of personality surrounding North Korea's ruling family, the Kims, has existed in North Korea for decades and can be found in many examples of North Korean culture.

Although it is not officially recognized by the North Korean government, there are often stiff penalties for those who do not show "proper" respect or criticize the regime. The personality cult began soon after Kim Il-sung took power in 1948, and was greatly expanded after his death in 1994.

The personality cult surrounding Kim Il-sung is by far the most widespread, comprehensive, and generally heart-felt among the people.

From the mid-1960s, he promoted his self-developed Juche variant of socialist organisation, which later replaced Marxism-Leninism as the ideology of the state in 1972.

In the Library of Congress Country Study on North Korea in 2009, he was described as "one of the most intriguing figures of the twentieth century".

He outlived Joseph Stalin by four decades, Mao Zedong by two, and remained in power during the terms of office of six South Korean presidents, seven Soviet leaders, ten U.S. presidents, fourteen UK Prime Ministers and twenty-one Japanese prime ministers.

Following his death in 1994, he was succeeded by his eldest son Kim Jong-il.

The North Korean government refers to Kim Il-sung as "The Great Leader" (위대한 수령, widaehan suryeong) and he is designated in the North Korean constitution as the country's "Eternal President". His birthday is a public holiday in North Korea.

Kim Jong-il

Kim Jong-il Korean pronunciation: [kimdʑʌŋil], also romanised as Kim Jong Il and born as Yuri Irsenovich Kim (Russian: Юрий Ирсенович Ким) (16 February 1941 – 17 December 2011[5]), was the supreme leader of North Korea (DPRK) from 1994 to 2011.

He succeeded his father and founder of the DPRK Kim Il-sung following the elder Kim's death in 1994. Kim Jong-il was the general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, Chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea, and the supreme commander of the Korean People's Army, the fourth-largest standing army in the world.

In April 2009, North Korea's constitution was amended to refer to him as the "supreme leader".

His son Kim Jong-un was promoted to a senior position in the ruling Workers' Party and is his successor.

In 2010, he was ranked 31st in Forbes Magazine's List of The World's Most Powerful People.[8] The North Korean government announced his death on 19 December 2011.

Following his death, he was succeeded by his third son Kim Jong-un.

He was proclaimed the Eternal General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and Eternal Chairman of the National Defence Commission in 2012.[9] His birthday is a public holiday in the country.

On 8 July 1994, Kim il-sung died at the age of 82 from a heart attack. However, it took three years for Kim Jong-il to consolidate his power.

On 1 January 1995, Kim Jong-il inspected a unit of the Korean People’s Army, which was his first official action as his father's successor.

This act came amid much speculation over North Korea's direction after Kim il-Sung's death. On 10 October Kim reviewed a massive military parade and a procession of 1 million people in Pyongyang, marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the country's ruling Workers' Party of Korea in what was his first major public appearance after his father's death.

In 1998, South Korean President Kim Dae-jung implemented the "Sunshine Policy" to improve North-South relations and to allow South Korean companies to start projects in the North.

Kim Jong-il announced plans to import and develop new technologies to develop North Korea's fledgling software industry.

As a result of the new policy, the Kaesong Industrial Park was constructed in 2003 just north of the de-militarized zone, with the planned participation of 250 South Korean companies, employing 100,000 North Koreans, by 2007.

However, by March 2007, the Park contained only 21 companies — employing 12,000 North Korean workers. As of May 2010 the park employs over 40,000 North Korean workers.

In 1994, North Korea and the United States signed an Agreed Framework which was designed to freeze and eventually dismantle the North's nuclear weapons program in exchange for aid in producing two power-generating nuclear reactors.

In 2002, Kim Jong-il's government admitted to having produced nuclear weapons since the 1994 agreement.

Kim's regime argued the secret production was necessary for security purposes — citing the presence of United States-owned nuclear weapons in South Korea and the new tensions with the United States under President George W. Bush.

On 9 October 2006, North Korea's Korean Central News Agency announced that it had successfully conducted an underground nuclear test.

Kim's three sons and his brother-in-law, along with O Kuk-ryol, an army general, had been noted as possible successors, but the North Korean government had for a time been wholly silent on this matter.

Kim Yong Hyun, a political expert at the Institute for North Korean Studies at Seoul's Dongguk University, has said, "Even the North Korean establishment would not advocate a continuation of the family dynasty at this point."

Kim's eldest son Kim Jong-nam was earlier believed to be the designated heir but he appears to have fallen out of favor after being arrested at Narita International Airport near Tokyo in 2001 while traveling on a forged passport.

On 2 June 2009, it was reported that Kim Jong-il's youngest son, Kim Jong-un, was to be North Korea's next leader.

Like his father and grandfather, he has also been given an official sobriquet, The Brilliant Comrade.

Prior to his death, it had been reported that Kim Jong-il was expected to officially designate the son as his successor in 2012.

Kim Jong-un.

Kim Jong-un- Korean pronunciation: [kimdʑʌŋɯn] (born 8 January 1983 or 1984)—also romanised as Kim Jong-eun, Kim Jong Un or Kim Jung-eun—is the supreme leader of North Korea, the son of Kim Jong-il (1941–2011) and the grandson of Kim Il-sung (1912–1994).

He has held the titles of the First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, First Chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea, the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army, and also a presidium member of the Central Politburo of the Workers' Party of Korea.

He was officially declared the supreme leader following the state funeral for his father on 28 December 2011. He is the third and youngest son of Kim Jong-il and his consort Ko Young-hee.

From late 2010, Kim Jong-un was viewed as heir apparent to the leadership of the nation, and following his father's death, he was announced as the "Great Successor" by North Korean state television.

At Kim Jong-il's memorial service, North Korean Chairman of Congress Kim Yong-nam declared that "Respected Comrade Kim Jong-un is our party, military and country's supreme leader who inherits great comrade Kim Jong-il's ideology, leadership, character, virtues, grit and courage".

On 30 December 2011 the Politburo of the Workers' Party of Korea formally appointed Kim as the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army.

On 11 April 2012, the 4th Party Conference elected him to the newly created post of First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea.

He was promoted to the rank of marshal of the DPRK in the Korean People's Army on 18 July 2012, consolidating his position as the supreme commander of the armed forces.

He obtained two degrees, one in physics at Kim Il-sung University and another at the Kim Il-sung Military University.

At 29–30 years of age, he is the world's youngest head of state.

Officially, Kim Jong-un is part of a triumvirate heading the executive branch of the North Korean government along with Premier Pak Pong-ju and parliament chairman Kim Yong-nam (no relation).

Each nominally holds powers equivalent to a third of a president's powers in most other presidential systems. Kim Jong-un commands the armed forces, Pak Pong-ju heads the government and Kim Yong-nam handles foreign relations.

Nevertheless, it is generally understood that Kim Jong-un, like his father before him, exercises absolute control over the government and the country.

In 2013, it was rumored that Kim Jong-un received plastic surgery in order to surgically modify his facial appearance.

On February 26, 2013, he met ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman, leading many reporters to speculate that Rodman was the first American that Kim had met.

On March 7, 2013, North Korea threatened the United States with a 'pre-emptive nuclear attack' and Kim Jong-Un issued a detailed threat to "wipe out" Baengnyeong Island, the scene of previous naval clashes.

At a plenary meeting of the WPK Central Committee held on March 31, 2013 in the wake of war threats with South Korea, Kim Jong-un announced that North Korea will adopt "a new strategic line on carrying out economic construction and building nuclear armed forces simultaneously", de facto ending the "military-first" era of Kim Jong-il.

Many reports indicate that the human rights violations under the leadership of Kim Jong-il are continued by Kim Jong-un,6] ordering to kill defectors, conducting public executions and sending people to political prison camps.

It is assumed that he was involved in the bombardment of Yeonpyeong and the Cheonan sinking to strengthen his military credentials and facilitate a successful transition of power from his father.

The 2013 report on the situation of human rights in North Korea by United Nations Special Rapporteur Marzuki Darusman urged for a United Nations commission of inquiry to document the accountability of Kim Jong-un and other individuals in the North Korean government for alleged crimes against humanity.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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