N. Korea Threatens South With Special Military Action

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches a military parade held to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the North's founder Kim Il Sung, in Pyongyang on April 15,
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches a military parade held to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the North's founder Kim Il Sung, in Pyongyang on April 15,

North Korea escalated its war of words against the South Korean government on Monday, when a newscaster interrupted regular programming on North Korea's central television station and forcefully read an unusual announcement from a unit of the army's supreme command.

A special operation would reduce to “ashes in three or four minutes” the supporters of South Korea's president and their bases utilizing “unprecedented peculiar means and methods," said Ri Chun Hee, a senior North Korean broadcaster. 

Pyongyang blames President Lee Myung-bak for insulting the North at a time when the country was mourning its late leader, Kim Jong Il, who died in December, and then during this month's celebrations marking the centennial of the birth of North Korea's founder, Kim Il Sung.

North Korea often uses belligerent language and threatens violence against South Korean leaders. But some analysts who closely monitor the North’s bombastic rhetoric say the latest message may presage some sort of attack.

Daniel Pinkston, the senior analyst in Seoul for the International Crisis Group, says while there is no indication of a mobilization of North Korea's military, the announcement from Pyongyang is puzzling and worrying.

"I don't know what a special team could do in three or four minutes,' noted Pinkston. "Maybe some type of special operations or some type of asymmetric attack that could include cyber attacks or attacks against unexpected, unusual targets in the South, maybe attacks against South Korean targets abroad."

North Korea suffered a loss of face when its highly promoted April 13 “space launch” failed after two minutes. The North said it was trying to place a satellite into orbit. Much of the international community regarded it as a provocative ballistic missile test in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

South Korea last week unveiled a missile of its own that it says is capable of quickly striking any target in the North.

An uneasy peace has prevailed on the Korean peninsula since 1953 when an armistice was signed halting three years of devastating warfare. The two Koreas have never signed a peace treaty and have no diplomatic relations.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Elachi
May 02, 2012 11:07 AM
WHEN GOD is silence it mean jugdement human being is still the apple of GOD eyes no matter the manipulation of science.the GOOD will ever prevail over EVIL.

by: gFB
April 25, 2012 12:06 PM
Not having a army premotes pease,,as is the case here

by: JW
April 24, 2012 7:12 AM
The money the north spends on it's rediculous bids to dominate the region could feed it's people and build an eduction system that might one day give it hopes of actually being equal, much less dominating, other countries in the region. They display the foresight of a three year old, the patience of a teenager and the intellegence of a can of worms.

by: Stephen Loo
April 24, 2012 5:15 AM
North says within 3 to 4 minutes, he can flattened certain of South military base, on the hand its say that making the nuclear bombs is to generate power electricity, with such agressiveness how to could convince the World's

by: Z
April 24, 2012 3:01 AM
The N. Korea leader looks so young!

Why do they not want all the modern restaurants?

I surley don't understand why all the problems!

by: Sunny
April 23, 2012 7:23 PM
This vild and shamble NK is going to end and down its ruling in its nation.So it wants to make some troubles to the world and get
attention. Why does the NK can do it? Because they get the supports and back from China, the same vild regim.

by: Deon
April 23, 2012 5:01 PM
The time for talk and half measures are over, the north have to adapt to the changes in the world or perish as an outcast..... Restrictions and sanctions only made their senceless goverment gain more power among their followers, sooooo take stronger actions against the north! Cripple their army and remove their leaders.....!

by: William
April 23, 2012 7:55 AM
I think it is about time we give a couple of nukes to south korea and then see how intimidating the north will be, Maybe the south can catch the norths new leader in the middle of a bowel movement when they torch pongyang since he is the only one there that has a bowel movement.

by: NVO
April 23, 2012 6:56 AM
NK=SHAM! Starve your people, then crash a rocket, SHAM!

April 23, 2012 6:29 AM
Maybe this will give us good reason to bring peace to the people of the North.
Comments page of 2

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video In Cambodian Capital, Political Motives Seen Behind Canceled Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle reports from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs