North Korea threatened yesterday to take “special actions” against the South’s leaders and conservative media in an unusually strong statement, raising tensions even further on the divided peninsula.
The threats come in response to the South’s recent condemnation of a failed missile launch and perceived slurs on the regime and new leader Kim Jong-un.
Last week the South Korean army boasted that new missiles “can pinpoint the window of the office” of Kim. The South also said there were indications that the North was preparing to stage a third nuclear test.
According to the North’s Korean Central News Agency (KNCA), Pyongyang will “meet the reckless challenge of the group of traitors” with “special actions.”
The targets it said will be South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and the ruling elite as well as the conservative media.
“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,” the KNCA said.
The threats have worried analysts in the South who say North Korea is now further isolated by the international community in the form of recent the UN Security Council resolution to strengthen sanctions against North Korea after the failure of its missile launch on April 13.
According to Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, North Korea is attention seeking and looking “to grab the spotlight in front of the US and China by creating a military conflict with South Korea.”
Park Jong-chul, director of the Center for Unification Policy Studies, also did not rule out an act of provocation by the North.
Park said the heavy criticism following the failed rocket launch had rattled the leadership.