April 24, 2012 13:35
North Korea issued a brazen threat against South Korea on Monday, warning that it would take "special actions" that will "start soon to meet the reckless challenge of the group of traitors" -- shorthand for the Lee Myung-bak administration.
"Once the above-said special actions kick off, they will reduce all the rat-like groups and the bases for provocations to ashes in three or four minutes, in much shorter time, by unprecedented peculiar means and methods of our own style," it said (the English is the North Korean regime's own).
The regime added ominously that its targets in the South are President "Lee Myung-bak's traitor group and his rats, including the conservative media that swings public opinion."
The North is apparently miffed at South Korea's unveiling last week of high-tech cruise and long-range missiles capable of hitting any target in North Korea, and Lee's comments during a recent speech that Pyongyang needs to implement agrarian reforms and take better care of its people. The North's official Rodong Sinmun daily on Monday allocated four out of its total six pages to aggressive jabbering about the South.
Last week, North Korea threatened to launch a "holy war" against the South and to "strike" the South Korean government, and last Friday, a staged rally saw people hurling abuse at Lee. Over the weekend, a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman warned that the Lee administration would be responsible if something terrible happens on the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea sank the Navy corvette Cheonan in March of 2010, just 70 days after the National Defense Commission had warned of yet another "holy war" against Cheong Wa Dae. In September and October 2010, the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland issued two statements vowing revenge, which preceded the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island on Nov. 26. Chances are that the North Korean military will launch another provocation following threats of "peculiar means" and the designation of specific targets in the South, including the president and media.
After the North launched what it claims was a space rocket earlier this month in violation of a February agreement with Washington, the Obama administration announced it would halt food aid, and even China agreed to a strongly worded condemnation by the UN Security Council. Every time it becomes more isolated, North Korea typically steps up its threats.
The agitation of North Korea's leadership stems from its disappointment that the rocket launch just two days before the centenary of nation founder Kim Il-sung failed. The regime is probably trying to regain face by turning aggressively on South Korea. Although the threats may sound like emotional blather, Seoul needs to be fully prepared to deal with any provocations, and if the North does act on its words, it must respond in such a way as to stop North Korea ever thinking of doing it again.
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