A troubling development today on the Korean peninsula as the increasingly isolated Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea issued an unusually specific threat to its southern neighbor.
All programming in the DPRK was halted this morning so that the foreboding statement from the Korean military could be broadcast across every channel. The North Korean war machine threatened to “reduce South Korea to ashes” in less than four minutes.
The threat comes amidst escalating tensions along the world’s most heavily militarized border. Earlier this month North Korea ran a failed intercontinental ballistic missile launch test that rankled the international community, prompting outrage from the U.S. and its allies. The botched launch was seen as an embarrassment for the nascent Kim Jong Un regime.
When Kim Jong Un came to power following the death of Kim Jong Il, the international community was cautiously optimistic that the reclusive regime might begin to normalize diplomatic relationships. Unfortunately, it now seems more likely that the younger Kim intends to continue the North Korean strategy of brinksmanship by following failure with provokation.
South Korean officials are particularly concerned about new satellite images that show the North Koreans constructing a tunnel, perhaps intended to stage the communist dictatorship’s third nuclear test.
Threats of general violence and destruction out of the DPRK are nothing new in international politics. What makes this most recent message so ominous is the atypical level of specificity.
According to a translation from the Associated Press, North Korea promised to “reduce all the rat-like groups and bases for provocations to ashes in three to four minutes, or in much shorter time, by unprecedented peculiar means and methods of our own style.”