Was Kim Il-sung an independence activist?

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Closely following an uproar over Prof. Kang Jeong-koo's inflammatory remarks calling the Korean War "North Korea's" war of unification, a fellow South Korean academic upped the ante with a column titled "Kim Il-sung, a Great Modern Leader." The incidents rekindled debate about the controversial National Security Law and sparked a political crisis when the justice minister ordered prosecutors not to detain Kang under the decades-old law, prompting the prosecutor general to resign.

There have for some time been calls to recognize Kim Il-sung as an independence fighter, ideological conflicts aside. Kim joined the Chinese Communist Party in 1931, and thereafter headed an anti-Japanese movement in Manchuria. However, many in the academic world say that was part of getting on in the socialist movement rather than an act of patriotism. Sejong Institute scholar Chung Seong-jang said, Kim Il-sung's armed struggle against Japan was inseparable from the anti-Japanese struggle of the Chinese Communist Party.

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