North Korea: A History of Violent Aggression
Living here in South Korea, I know that the kind of aggressive rhetoric that we’ve been hearing from North Korea is nothing new. South Koreans are apathetic toward the North, from the sheer weight of this kind of threat maintained over 60 years. But that doesn’t mean that the North offers only empty words, as we hear some analysts currently saying. What isn’t being told, and what most people don’t know, is the number of times North Korea has actually carried out violence against the South and its ally, the United States, since the Korean War was brought officially to an end.
Let’s consider just a few major examples, and the response they elicited: In 1968 Kim Il Sung led a force that hijacked the USS Pueblo. America did nothing. In 1976 the ax-murder of two U.S. officers in the DMZ also brought no reprisal. The United States sent food aid.
In 1983 North Korea carried out an assassination attempt on South Korea’s president in Burma. The explosion resulted in the violent deaths of three members of his cabinet. South Korea did not retaliate. Then in 1987 North Korea blew up a South Korean airliner full of civilians and crew. Again, this attack elicited no retaliation. These unpunished atrocities occurred during the rule of Kim Il Sung, the current leader’s grandfather.
The South Korean government, for its part, initiated a program of kindness toward the North, termed the “sunshine policy” under which they gave massive shipments of food, medicine and cash aid.
More recently under Kim Jong Il, the current leader’s father, Pyongyang torpedoed a South Korean patrol boat killing 47 naval personnel, and shelled a South Korean island killing four civilians. Neither Washington nor Seoul retaliated. The astonishing indulgence of South Korea and the U.S. toward the North has been an example of great grace from God — giving them abundant opportunity to realize the error of their actions, and turn their hearts and minds toward the truth. But I believe that the time for this great grace is running out. The dictatorial regime in North Korea is continuing in it’s violent path; stubbornly persisting in despotism toward its own people, and murderous actions toward its neighbors. The time is coming when God will swiftly turn in compassion toward the starving, imprisoned and tortured people of North Korea and will bring justice. He is going to bring down the destructive regime in the North. “He will rise up and have compassion, for the appointed time has come — the time has come to show the people of North Korea favor, and the Nations will hear of the Glory of God!”
Yet there is a great danger right now, as the dictatorial government is still persisting in their destructive ways. The current danger is that Kim Jong Un and the military government now in power believes that they will also get away with murder today. They further believe that they will be appeased with aid and investments — just as in the past.
A History of Violence
The following is a condensed chronology of North Korean aggression, including attempts to attack or invade South Korea. The events listed here include only violent aggression that resulted in South Korean or American injury, death, or imprisonment. These are not offered to build up animosity against North Korea, but simply to inform and raise awareness of just how real North Korean threats are, and have been since the 1950s.
- 16 February 1958: North Korean agents hijack a South Korean airliner to Pyongyang en route from Pusan to Seoul; 1 American pilot, 1 American passenger, 2 West German passengers, and 24 other passengers were released in early March, but 8 other passengers have been detained or imprisoned indefinitely in the North.
- April 27, 1965: Two North Korean MiG-17s attacked a United States reconnaissance plane above the Sea of Japan, 80 km (50 mi) from the North Korean shore.
- January 17, 1968: A 31-man detachment from the Korean People’s Army secretly crossed the DMZ on a mission to kill South Korean President Park Chung-hee, nearly succeeding. In the raid 68 South Koreans were killed and 66 were wounded, the majority of whom were soldiers and police officers. Three American soldiers were also killed and three were wounded.
- January 23, 1968: The United States Naval ship the USS Pueblo was boarded and captured, along with its crew, by North Korean forces in the Sea of Japan. The entire crew of 83 was captured, one sailor killed, and the vessel was taken to a North Korean port. All the captives were released on December 23 of the same year. The USS Pueblo is still in North Korean possession.
- October 30, 1968: From October 30 to November 2, 120 to 130 North Korean commandos landed on the northeast shore of South Korea. 20 South Korean civilians, law enforcement officers, and soldiers were killed.
- March 1969: Six North Korean commandos kill a South Korean police officer in South Korea near Jumunjin, Gangwon-do. Seven American soldiers were killed in a subsequent North Korean attack along the DMZ.
- April 1969: A U.S. reconnaissance plane was shot down 90 miles (140 km) east of the North Korean coast, leaving 31 dead.
- November 1969: Four US soldiers were killed by North Koreans in the Demilitarized Zone.
- April 1970: In Geumchon, south of the DMZ, a clash left five South Korean soldiers wounded.
- June 1970: The North Korean navy seized a broadcast vessel from the South in the Yellow Sea near the Northern Limit Line. 20 crew were captured and detained indefinitely.
- February 1974: Two South Korean fishing vessels were sunk and 30 crew members indefinitely detained in North Korea.
- 1974: North Korean soldiers were discovered tunneling under the DMZ in preparation for a mass invasion. Three more tunnels into South Korea were found in 1975, 1978 and 1990.
- June 1976: An incursion south of the DMZ in Gangwon-do leaves six South Koreans dead.
- August 18, 1976: Two US soldiers were axe murdered at the DMZ.
- May 1980: North Koreans fire on the South from the DMZ, resulting in a firefight.
- March 1981: Three North Korean soldiers try to enter the South in Gangwon-do.
- November 1984: A South Korean soldier dies, and one American soldier is wounded during a firefight that erupted when a North Korean security detail chased a defecting Soviet citizen (Vasily Matusak) into the southern-controlled sector of the Joint Security Area.
- November 1987: One South Korean killed on DMZ central sector by North Korean sniper fire.
- May 1992: Three South Korean soldiers were wounded while apprehending North Korean soldiers in South Korean uniforms in Cheolwon, Gangwon-do.
- December 1994: North Koreans shot down a US Army helicopter. One US soldier was killed and one held as a prisoner of war for 13 days.
- May 1995: North Korean forces fire on a South Korean fishing boat killing three.
- April 1996: Several hundred armed North Korean troops cross repeatedly into the Demilitarized Zone, threatening mass invasion.
- April 1997: Five North Korean soldiers cross the Demilitarized Zone in Cheolwon, Gangwon-do, and fire on South Koreans.
- June 1997: Three North Korean vessels cross the Northern Limit Line and attack South Korean vessels two miles (3 km) south of the line. On land, fourteen North Korean soldiers cross 70 m south of the center of the DMZ, leading to a 23-minute exchange of fire.
- June 1999: A series of clashes between North and South Korean vessels take place in the Yellow Sea near the Northern Limit Line.
- 2001: On twelve separate occasions, North Korean vessels cross the Northern Limit Line and then withdraw.
- June 29, 2002: Renewed naval clashes near the Northern Limit Line lead to the deaths of four South Korean sailors and the sinking of a South Korean vessel.
- March 2, 2003: Four North Korean fighter jets shoot down a US reconnaissance plane over the Sea of Japan. The pilot and crew are presumably dead or being held in North Korea.
- July 17, 2003: North Korean forces fire on the South at the DMZ around 6 AM.
- March 26, 2010: A South Korean naval vessel, the ROK Cheonan, was allegedly sunk by a North Korean torpedo near Baengnyeong Island in the Yellow Sea. A rescue operation recovered 58 survivors but 46 sailors were killed.
- November 23, 2010: North Korea fired artillery at South Korea’s Greater Yeonpyeong island in the Yellow Sea and South Korea returned fire. Two South Korean marines and two South Korean civilians were killed, six were seriously wounded, and ten were treated for minor injuries. Approximately seventy South Korean houses were destroyed.
This is an abbreviated listing, containing only the most serious attacks or incursions that resulted in injury or death. A more complete listing can be found on Wikipedia. Armed groups of North Korean military personnel have repeatedly been captured both on land and in the Yellow sea coming into South Korea. Reports of spies infiltrating into South Korea from the North are common. Firefights on the DMZ or on the Northern Limit Line are a frequent occurrence.
Pray for North Korea:
“We call on Your Name, Oh God, for You never change; in You there is no shadow of turning. We lift up our cry into the night, and ask for the captives to be loosed from their chains!”
Pray for God’s Mercy: Pray that God will open the eyes of North Korean leaders to His mercy. God has given North Korea mercy time and time again, through the forbearance of the United States and South Korea. Pray that Kim Jong Eun and the military elite be brought to recognize the love and the mercy of God towards them. Pray that they respond to His mercy in repentance and turn their hearts to Him.
Pray for God’s Justice: Pray that God will bring the current dictatorial regime to an end. Pray for the protection of the North Korean people during the coming turmoil.
Pray for God’s Power: Pray that the closed gates of North Korea will be opened, that the King of Glory may come in power!
Pray for God’s Deliverance: Pray that God will protect and deliver South Korea during the coming turbulence. Also pray that the captives will be set free in North Korea from starvation and bondage, to liberty in a new, democratic, united Korea.
Pray for the underground Church: Christian leaders in North Korea, many imprisoned, and many working in secret, are currently asking for our prayers. Political pressure is getting more severe under the state of war; food is becoming scarce and expensive; persecution is becoming stronger and more pervasive. Pray that the Church is strengthened during this time. Pray that they will be able to stand.
Chronology edited from Wikipedia.