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

    You May Like

    Video Somali, AU Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    Somalia’s Western backers frustrated over country’s slow progress in establishing its armed forces to bring security after 25 years of chaos

    Israel Makes Push for Gaza Strip Recovery

    After years of economic blockade and attempts to disable Hamas, Israeli leaders eventually realized that Hamas’ downfall could lead to chaos or the rise of a more radical Jihadist group

    Slump in Chinese Tourists Hitting Hong Kong Retail

    Mainland Chinese account for up to three-quarters of visitors to Hong Kong, but that number is falling, and shopping centers are struggling to 'shift gears' and maintain sales

    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.
    Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shababi
    X
    Henry Ridgwell
    April 28, 2016 4:20 PM
    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Town Receives Refugees but Lacks Resources

    A wave of refugees is pouring into the Kurdish town of Afrin in northern Syria as a result of fighting between rebel forces and Islamic State militants. VOA’s Amina Misto went to the town and reports local authorities are finding it difficult to cope with this influx of internally displaced people. Bronwyn Benito narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Build Human Tissue on Animal Matrix

    The question has always been, if a gecko can grow back its tail, why can't we regenerate our lost body parts? Well, maybe we can, someday. Scientists are moving towards the ability to rebuild fully functioning organs, and have made significant progress replacing muscles and other tissue.
    Video

    Video Containing Chernobyl Radiation Continues 30 Years After Explosion

    April 26 marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Hundreds were killed following the explosion and it's estimated that thousands more have died from cancers caused by the radiation. Henry Ridgwell traveled to Chernobyl and reports for VOA on the continuing efforts to decommission the site -- and on the fledgling plans for a new future in the vast exclusion zone.
    Video

    Video Frustration Builds Among Refugees Trapped at Macedonian Border

    On the Greek border with Macedonia, 12,000 refugees continue to wait. Since the route to the rest of Europe was closed last month, the makeshift camp at Idomeni has seen protests and tear gas. But while those here wait, their frustration grows — as do reports of people attempting to find new ways of continuing their journey. John Owens reports from Idomeni.
    Video

    Video Researchers: Bees Help Kenyan Farmers Fend Off Elephants

    Elephant crop-raiding continues to be a major source of human-wildlife conflict in Kenya, so one elephant researcher is helping to alleviate the problem near Tsavo East National Park with beehive fences, which use elephants’ natural aversion to bees to deter them from farms. VOA’s Jill Craig visited the area ahead of this month's Giants Club Summit, which will bring together dignitaries at Mount Kenya to find solutions to combat poaching, the No. 1 threat to elephants.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora