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North Korea: Chronology of Provocations, 1950-2003

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Congressional rept.

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This chronology provides information on selective instances of North Korean provocations between June 1950 and 2003. The report places current provocations in the context of past actions to better judge their significance and to determine changes in trends. The term provocation is defined to include armed invasion border violations infiltration of armed saboteurs and spies hijacking kidnapping terrorism including assassination and bombing threats against political leaders, media personnel, and institutions and incitement aimed at the overthrow of the South Korean government. Information is taken from South Korean and Western sources and typically is denied by the North Korean government. The most intense phase of the provocations was in the latter half of the 1960s, when North Korea staged a series of limited armed actions against South Korean and U.S. security interests. Infiltration of armed agents into South Korea was the most frequently mentioned type of provocation, followed by kidnapping and terrorism. From 1954 to 1992, North Korea is reported to have infiltrated a total of 3,693 armed agents into South Korea, with 1967 and 1968 accounting for 20 percent of the total. Instances of terrorism were far fewer in number, but they seemed to have had a continuing negative impact on relations between the two Koreas. Not counting North Koreas invasion of South Korea that triggered the Korean War 1950-1953, North Koreas major terrorist involvement includes attempted assassinations of President Park Chung Hee in 1968 and 1974 a 1983 attempt on President Chun Doo Hwans life in a bombing incident in Rangoon, Burma Myanmar and a mid-air sabotage bombing of a South Korean Boeing 707 passenger plane in 1987. Provocations have continued intermittently in recent years, in the form of armed incursions, kidnappings, and occasional threats to turn the South Korean capital of Seoul into a sea of fire and to silence or tame South Korean critics of North Korea.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Sociology and Law
  • Humanities and History
  • Unconventional Warfare

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