News / Asia

South Korea Decries North's 'Psychological Tactics'

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) visits a long-range artillery sub-unit of the Korean People's Army Unit 641, March 11, 2013, in this picture released by the North's official KCNA news agency in Pyongyang, March 12, 2013.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) visits a long-range artillery sub-unit of the Korean People's Army Unit 641, March 11, 2013, in this picture released by the North's official KCNA news agency in Pyongyang, March 12, 2013.
North Korea's official media is quoting its leader, Kim Jong Un, using the most threatening language yet during a visit to a front-line unit poised to attack a South Korean frontier island.

Meanwhile, a major conservative daily newspaper in Seoul quotes a government official saying American nuclear weapons will remain in South Korean waters following current drills, to deter the North.

South Korea's Ministry of National Defense says a fresh threat by North Korea's leader against a frontier island is part of psychological tactics intended to change policy in Washington and Seoul.

Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told reporters North Korea is preparing a large-scale military drill later this month, and Kim Jong Un is expected to attend.

The spokesman says the drills could lead to provocation.  He says South Korean forces are closely monitoring the North Korean military.

x
At the top of Tuesday's North Korean radio newscasts were details of the Monday inspection by the country's leader to a coastal detachment said to be ready to attack South Korea's frontier Baengnyeong island.

The announcer quotes Kim Jong Un telling the troops to turn the enemy island into a sea of flames.

The announcer says Kim informed the soldiers that, once his order is issued, to give the “insane enemy” a taste of real war by “breaking their waists and completely cutting their strings of life.”

According to the broadcast, the North Korean leader also specified that the 4th Army Corps should wipe out the island's radar post, artillery defenses, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, rocket launchers and howitzer batteries controlled by the South Korean 6th Marines.

South Korea's semi-official Yonhap news agency says Kim's recent visits to units along the southwestern coast have local observers concerned of another military clash between the two Koreas in the Yellow Sea.

The increasingly bellicose rhetoric from Pyongyang comes amid tighter economic sanctions imposed on it by the United Nations Security Council and the United States, and annual military exercises involving American and South Korean troops.

A major conservative daily in Seoul, the Joong Ang Ilbo, quotes a government official saying U.S. nuclear weapons, likely on submarines, will remain in South Korean waters after the joint defense drills end next month.

The United States removed its nuclear weapons from the peninsula in 1991.

U.S. Forces Korea, asked for a response by VOA, issued a general statement saying the United States “remains steadfast” in its commitment to defend its ally, which includes the extended deterrence provided by “conventional forces and a nuclear umbrella.”

An official at the U.S. Defense Department, speaking to VOA on condition he not be named, denies South Korean media reports that a U.S. aircraft carrier, stealth fighters and B-52 bombers have been participating in the joint annual military exercises in and around South Korea. But the official acknowledges a B-52 Stratofortress performed a "routine continuous bomber presence mission" on March 8, near the Korean peninsula.  However, he says the flight was not part of the exercise.

The U.S. Navy is acknowledging the participation of two guided missile destroyers, the USS Lassen and USS McCampbell in the Foal Eagle exercise, which began March 1.  According to a Navy officer, the ships are focusing on “training in anti-submarine warfare, air intercept control, communication and command and control.”

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the Wolnae Islet Defence Detachment in the western sector of the front line, which is near Baengnyeong Island of South Korea, March 11, 2013. (KCNA)
  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a long-range artillery sub-unit of the Korean People's Army Unit 641, March 11, 2013. (KCNA)
  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un holds a guitar during his visit to a military unit on the Wolnae Islet Defence Detachment in the western sector of the front line, which is near Baengnyeong Island, South Korea, March 11, 2013. (KCNA)
  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves while in a boat during his visit to the Wolnae Islet Defence Detachment in the western sector of the front line, which is near Baengnyeong Island of South Korea March 11, 2013. (KCNA)

A separate overlapping command post exercise, Key Resolve, began this week. It brings some U.S. forces to the peninsula from overseas bases. U.S. officials insist it is purely a defensive training.

Tensions on the peninsula have risen to levels not seen in years.

North Korea contends the current U.S.-South Korean exercises are part of an escalating confrontation against it and a prelude to a nuclear attack, justifying Pyongyang in preparing its own preemptive nuclear strike.

The North has also announced that, effective March 11, it was abrogating the armistice agreement it signed in 1953, along with its allied Chinese military command and opposing U.N. forces.

United Nations spokesman Martin Nesirky says, despite Pyongyang's assertion, the armistice is still in place.

"The terms of the armistice agreement do not allow either side unilaterally to free themselves from it. And, the secretary-general would certainly reiterate the validity and importance of this critical agreement," he said.

South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young told reporters Seoul demands Pyongyang retract the statement claiming to nullify the armistice agreement, as that threatens peace in the region.

Even though South Korea was not a signatory, the spokesman says Seoul will completely abide by the armistice, strengthen cooperation and discussions with the United States and China, sternly responding to any attempt by the  North to scrap the agreement.

The armistice has, for the most part, kept a cease-fire in place for the past 60 years. But, the two Koreas have never signed a peace treaty nor normalized relations, meaning they have technically remained at war during the subsequent decades.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: carin from: usa
March 12, 2013 12:53 PM
If nuclear arms are being used make sure the little whippersnapper gets the first dose right in the snoot,how sickening to have this little caricature running around today the day with such large agenda, unable to see the illness they created to their own people,they all look unhealty unsmiling and in dire need to get a life,something enjoyable


by: paris tun
March 12, 2013 11:26 AM
Seems like, war can break out at any times between the N.Korea and S.Korea, if Kim Jong Un regime is bold enough to make decisive threats and attacks on S.Korea. But I doubt it ,cos' most dictators are such cowards that they would only oppress and bully powerless and voiceless population.
If the war did break out, the international community should see this as an opportunity to END the evil regime once and for all and help the korean people reunited.But at the end of the day, it all comes down to capability and will of S.korea and its allies.
I think,this war will be different from the Iraq war cos' north korean people are not extremists and hopefully, all they want is the freedom from a evil regime, so secretive that you don't really know what kind of abuses are happening inside that country.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid