(Update) BREAKING: North Korea issues 'Grade 1' war-readiness alert

Tuesday 26th March, 2013
statues04.25 GMT

Pyongyang issues protection order for Kim statues

16.27 GMT
‘Grade 1’ War-Readiness is not about war: it is an order for the Protection of the ‘Kims’ dignity’

North Korea has declared a Protection Order regarding the portraits of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, as well as related images and artefacts. An emergency meeting was convened among North Korean officials stationed abroad in relation to the recent declaration of ‘Grade 1’ War-Readiness by the Supreme Command of the KPA, according to our sources. Contrary to expectations, the meetings were not concerned with the state of war-readiness within North Korea.

From today, night security will be organized in order to protect the portraits of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il kept in the offices of North Korean officials stationed abroad from attack. In addition, Pyongyang has ordered for any items containing the likeness or words of Kim Il-sung or Kim Jong-il to be given special protection. The source added that within North Korea too, a state of emergency regarding the protection of monuments and artefacts related to the dignity of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il has been issued.

To the question of whether the current atmosphere in North Korea and among officers posted abroad was more serious than that of the highest state of war-readiness, our source replied, “It it not about readiness for war; it is about the protection of our highest dignity (Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il).”

According to this information, the alert for ‘Grade 1’ War-Readiness is effectively concerned not with protection of the nation, but with the protection of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il’s prestige.

The source added, “this is because the enemy is targeting the statues of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. Pyongyang wishes to declare to the world that if these statues are harmed, Kim Jong-un will not hesitate to send missiles to the US mainland. This was emphasized several times in our emergency meeting.”

This appears to be the context in which the Supreme Command of the Korea People’s Army declared South Korean facilities and US bases in Guam and Hawaii as targets for its long-range missiles.

In addition, the ‘Grade 1’ War-Readiness referred to in the issue of today’s alert is now confirmed, for the first time, as referring to a Protection Order for the Kim dynasty among the North Korean people and military.

The fact that North Korea is treating the potential attack on Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un’s statues with such severity seems an indication of what such an attack would mean for North Korea.

07.25 GMT
North Korea issues ‘Grade 1′ war-readiness alert

On 26th March, North Korea issued a Grade 1 war-readiness alert through the Supreme Command of the Korea People’s Army.

The use of ‘Grade 1’ is an extremely unusual move. In North Korea, ‘Grade 1’ is considered a sanctified adjective and is reserved exclusively for referring to the ruling Kim. If North Korea wanted merely to classify the different grades of war-readiness, it would more likely have started from ‘Grade 3’.

In this context, ‘Grade 1’ is a suggestive term of significance. It implies a new and elevated state of war-readiness, differentiated from previous such declarations and associated specifically with the rule of Kim Jong-un. As Kim Jong-un is North Korea’s ‘Grade 1’ man, the new alert ties this state of war-readiness with Kim Jong-un’s command.

It appears that the ‘Grade 1’ war-readiness alert replaces the existing war-readiness alert as the highest state of war-readiness.

The new coinage follows statements by the South Korean military that it would target Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il statues if North Korea attacks. This is likely to have been perceived as a public insult to the divine authority of the Kims. The ‘Grade 1’ war-readiness alert may have been formulated in response to these statements.

The statement accompanying the war-readiness alert declared they were issuing the stance in order “to preserve our sovereignty and dignity” and that “the will of our people and military shall be demonstrated through military action”.

It added, “remember that at our first shot everything will be blown away, everything will turn to ash.”

The announcement by North Korea falls on the anniversary of the ROKS Cheonan sinking.


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