North threatens South with nukes
In response, the operations chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said if North Korea stages an attack, the South Korean military will retaliate against the source of any attacks and also the leaders who ordered them.
The Rodong Sinmun, the mouthpiece of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, printed an article on its front page entitled “The U.S. and warlike puppet groups should be aware of their destructive ending.”
“If the U.S. imperialists wield their weapons, we will turn not only Seoul but also Washington into seas of fire with our own measures for a precise nuclear strike,” Jong Hyon-il, a brigadier general, was quoted in the article.
It was the first time Pyongyang had warned of a precise nuclear strike against Seoul, according to the Ministry of Unification yesterday.
Above the article was a statement in the name of the Supreme Commander of the North Korean Army, leader Kim Jong-un, that also threatened to cancel the 1953 armistice agreement.
The South Korean Army raised its alert level as a result of the threats.
The article and statement came a day after North Korean Gen. Kim Yong-chol, the orchestrator of the attack on the warship Cheonan in 2010 and the bombardment of Yeonpyeong island a few months later, warned on state television that Pyongyang could “cancel the 1953 armistice agreement” that ended the fighting in the Korean War.
The threats appeared to be retaliation for the UN Security Council planning new sanctions to punish the North for its third nuclear test in February and a protest of annual Korea-U.S. joint military exercises starting next Monday.
In the article printed in the Rodong Sinmun yesterday, Jon Yong-nam, head of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League, was quoted as saying, “I will wave the flag of the DPRK [North Korea] on the ridge of Mount Halla, Jeju Island.”
North Korea’s previous claim was that former leader Kim Jong-il would someday bring the North Korean flag to Jeju Island as “President of Unification,” suggesting an absorption of South Korea by the communist North.
Kang Ji-yong, an official at the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, a state mouthpiece, blamed South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin and Jung Seung-jo, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for attempting “fratricide with support from foreign forces.”
The newspaper printed a large photo of a parade of armored vehicles with banners reading, “Eradicate the U.S. invaders who are the mortal foe of the Korean people.”
The photo was from a military parade on April 15, 2012, the centennial of the birthday of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung.
Kim Yong-hyeon, operational director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a press meeting yesterday that the South Korean military “will sternly retaliate” if North Korea’s Army starts any military provocations.
By Kim Hee-jin [email@example.com]