UPDATE: A North Korean foreign ministry spokesperson just warned that North Korea would exercise its right to launch nuclear preemptive strikes on the “invaders strongholds.” as long as the United States is pushing to ignite a nuclear war against the North. Or something to that effect.
ORIGINAL POST: OK, North Korea’s Rodong Shinmun is warning it can turn not only Seoul, but also Washington DC into seas of fire.
In a front page article in North Korea’s paper of record, a military spokesman also swore to plant the North Korean and Supreme Commander flags on Mt. Hallasan. If I might give a word of advice, be sure to start up the mountain early, because you’ve got to reach the last shelter before 12:30pm or they won’t let hike to the peak. They’re real ball busters with that sort of thing, too.
Ye Olde Chosun is actually concerned about the level of North Korean rhetoric, quoting experts who feel Tuesday’s threats by Gen. Kim Yong-chol—the guys who overseas North Korean operations against South Korea, including the Cheonan sinking—go above and beyond the usual talk you get from Pyongyang.
One source familiar with the North told the paper its rather extraordinary to have a guy who should operate in the shadows go on the evening news and issue threats for 10 minutes.
The Rodong Shinun article was apparently accompanied by a big photo of a multiple rocket launcher unit. A government official told the Chosun that North Korea has around 4,800 MLR tubes that can hit the Seoul area, including about 200 of the 240mm variety, but Pyongyang was unlikely to do something like that because an attack on the Seoul area meant a full-scale war was on.
An artillery or rocket strike in the West Sea was much more likely. But with the South Korean military making it quite clear they’d retaliate after such a strike, the North might instead go the terrorism route. A senior fellow at the Police Science Institute said he found it disquieting that the guy tasked with issuing the latest threats happens to head the North Korean bureau that specializes in agent infiltration and terrorism, and that the North might try to catch Seoul off-guard with an act of urban terrorism, destroying infrastructure or a cyber-attack. In a chart, the Chosun Ilbo notes that an advantage of the terrorism option is that South Korea wouldn’t be able to respond until it had determined North Korea was behind it.
In addition to the Cheonan sinking, Gen. Kim’s office is also believed to have carried out a DDoS attack on South Korea in 2009 and another attack on Nonghyup in 2011.