NK sports broadcast labels S. Korea ‘puppets'
North Korea’s state media, including Rodong Sinmun and Korean Central Television, dropped the term “Nam Joseon” -- South Joseon -- when referring to South Korea in a recent sports broadcast.
Instead, North Korea’s state media used the term “goeroe,” which means “puppets” to indicate South Korea. A score graphic televised by Korean Central Television referred to South Korea as such during a women’s quarterfinal soccer match during the Hangzhou Asian Games on Sept. 30.
While North Korea has used derogatory and sharp-worded expressions to describe the South on political and military issues, the use of a derogatory term in relation to a sporting event is unusual.
Use of “Nam Joseon” to refer to the South has been abandoned in recent months, according to a report by Yonhap News.
The last time Rodong Sinmun used the term was on Sept. 13, in an article written by Ho Jong-man, chairman of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, titled “Our Fatherland is the Eternal Embrace of Our Lives.” Rodong Sinmun rarely covers news about South Korea, except for its recent coverage of protests against the Yoon Suk Yeol administration, in which it described the South as a “puppet region.”
Korean Central Television last described South Korea as a “puppet region” when reporting on the global spread of COVID-19. On the North’s radio service Korean Central Broadcasting Station and Korean Central Television, the term “Nam Joseon” was last used on July 15, during its coverage of the COVID-19 omicron outbreak.
Experts say Korean Central Television's "puppet" reference at the games is an indicator that the label has likely become standard, regardless of the topic.
The use of “puppets” instead of “Nam Joseon” could also be seen as an attempt to instill hostility toward South Korea among North Koreans, according to experts.
“It’s part of North Korea’s move to shift away from the previous framework that depicted the North and South relations as a special one and treated the two countries as a unified entity, into a more adversarial relationship,” said Hong Min, director of North Korean research division at Korea Institute for National Unification.
Tensions between North and South Korea have been increasingly heightened since President Yoon Suk Yeol assumed office in May 2022. The two countries have not held any official talks in over a year, and South Korea referred to the North Korean regime and its military as the “enemy” for the first time in six years in a defense white paper issued in February.
As South Korea’s new Defense Minister Shin Won-sik took office on Saturday, Shin made a pledge during his inauguration speech that he would sternly respond to North Korea’s provocations and strengthen cooperation with the United States.
“In case of North Korean provocation, I will take action immediately, strongly and until the end to shred the enemy’s will and capacity to make further threats,” said Shin.
“I will create a defense posture that overwhelms the enemy. Punishment is containment and containment is peace.”