News / Asia

    North Korea's Military 'Targets' Media Outlets in the South

    South Korean police officers stand guard in front of the Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) building in Seoul, South Korea, June 4, 2012.
    South Korean police officers stand guard in front of the Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) building in Seoul, South Korea, June 4, 2012.
    SEOUL -  South Korea's government is chiding the North for a specific threat made by its military against some of the media in Seoul.

    North Korea's military Monday threatened South Korea's major conservative media outlets, saying its soldiers had entered the latitude and longitude coordinates of their Seoul headquarters for possible attack.

    South Korean reports say it is unprecedented for North Korea to publicly speak of map coordinates for specific targets.

    This came in an “open ultimatum” by the general command staff of the (North) Korean People's Army.

    The message read by an announcer on Pyongyang radio and attributed to the North Korean army general staff, targets South Korean media for critical reports about recent children's festivals hailing new leader Kim Jong Un.

    The broadcast says the military has already targeted for punishment specific South Korean media outlets which it names. The announcer says such “fools, idiots and blockheads” will face retribution for criticizing the celebrations in the North.

    One television channel in Seoul had compared the ceremonies to those of the Hitler Youth of Nazi-era Germany.

    South Korea's Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk says it takes the threat seriously and calls North Korea's reaction way out of line.

    Kim says the new military threat from Pyongyang is a significant challenge and provocation to freedom and democracy.

    However, Yim Tae-hee - a former chief of staff to the current South Korean president, Lee Myung-bak - says Seoul should not over-react.

    Speaking to correspondents, Yim - a declared presidential candidate of the ruling New Frontier Party - pleads for all to step back and put things in perspective. He says literally interpreting such threats could cause an erroneous move by Seoul in regards to relations with the North.

    The two Koreas have no diplomatic ties. They have lived side-by-side for decades under an uneasy truce since their devastating three-year civil war in the early 1950's.

    The South Korean capital, Seoul, with more than ten million people, is in the range of North Korean artillery.

    Professor Ryu Gil-jae at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul says a “cyber” attack against the South Korean media is more probable than a military action.

    Ryu says a competition is underway in North Korea among various entities to demonstrate their loyalty to Kim Jong Un and such belligerent rhetoric directed at the South is one part of this.

    Two provocations blamed on the North in 2010 - the sinking of a South Korean military ship and the shelling of a small island - killed 50 South Koreans, mainly military personnel. The South Korean government has warned there will be retaliation by its forces if there are any additional attacks by the North.

    Steve Herman

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

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora