On 25 August 1948, elections for the first Supreme People’s Assembly were held in North Korea. These hope behind post-War elections in Korea had been to heal the division of the country into North and South through establishing one government for the whole of the peninsula. However, Kim Il Sung successfully persuaded the Soviet forces occupying the North to prevent the UN from overseeing the northern elections. The result was two sets of elections: one for the South, held on 10 May 1948; and one for the North. The result was two elected bodies in two ‘states’ with two constitutions with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) coming in to being on 9 September 1948.
Two years later, after escalating border conflicts and wholly frustrated talks about reunion, North Korean army tanks rolled over the border and began a conflict that took the lives of 2.5 million people before the shaky ceasefire of 27 July 1953.
Almost 60 years later, in the early part of 2013, Kim Jong Un’s government flexed its nuclear muscles, tested its long-range rockets and declared that it was no longer bound by the 1953 Armistice and was therefore no longer “restrained by the North-South declaration on non-aggression.” A renewed Korean War was made more possible, if not more likely.
For a country which criticises America and South Korea for their provocative shows of military might, celebrating its 1948 elections with a gigantic rally of military hardware is in the very least entirely hypocritical.
Here is an illuminating picture gallery of the celebrations, provided by The Telegraph newspaper.
The eyes of the world may be on Syria and the unbearable suffering of its people, but we must not forget about North Korea and the work still needing to be done to rehabilitate this dangerous and secretive state.