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South Korea predicts North Korea will ramp up attacks in 2011

South Korea's Institute for National Security Strategy warned this weekend of increasing 'unexpected moves' as North Korea's military 'scrambles to display its loyalty' to heir apparent, Kim Jong-un.

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A tourist hangs on a ribbon wishing for reunification of the two Koreas near the border in Paju, South Korea, Friday.

Ahn Young-joon/AP

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South Korean intelligence analysts predict North Korean commanders will raise the tempo of shock strikes in the new year to enhance the image of leader Kim Jong-il’s son and heir apparent, Kim Jong-un, and prove their loyalty to the Kim dynasty.

A leading South Korean think tank affiliated with the South’s National Intelligence Service came out with that forecast this weekend – along with the prediction that Kim Jong-un, in his late 20s, would become vice chairman of the North’s powerful National Defense Commission. His father rules as commission chairman in addition to his post as general secretary of the Workers’ Party.

The Institute for National Security Strategy, an offshoot of the National Intelligence Service, warned of increasing “unexpected moves” as the North’s huge military machine of 1.1 million troops “scrambles to display its loyalty” to Kim Jong-un.

The institute says North Korea may strike anywhere, by surprise, from the Yellow Sea to outposts along the 160-mile-long demilitarized zone that has divided the two Koreas since the signing of the Korean War truce in July 1953.

The goal, says the report, will be “to increase special forces and develop strategies for dominance in limited conflicts.”

2010 attacks probably tied to upcoming succession

Analysts have often expressed the view that the need to promote Kim Jong-un as a strong military leader had much to do with the torpedoing in March of a South Korean navy vessel, the Cheonan, which killed 46 sailors, and the Nov. 23 bombardment of a remote island in which two marines and two civilians died.

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