N. Korea threatens S. Korea with ‘merciless sacred war’
By End the Lie
Just days after North Korea agreed to a deal with the United States which focused on a trade of disarmament for aid, the North Korean military has threatened South Korea with a “merciless sacred war.”
The recent statement came from the Supreme Command of the Korean People’s Army and is typical of North Korean rhetoric although it is a bit surprising that it would come at this time.
While the deal between Washington and Pyongyang was touted as a breakthrough in relations, the United States has said that success hinges upon the improvement of the relationship between North and South Korea as well.
According to the Associated Press, an unidentified North Korean military spokesman said that South Korea was creating a “touch-and-go” situation due to their joint military exercises with the United States.
I think this is a valid point, and thankfully the North Koreans didn’t follow through with their last threat surrounding the joint military exercises, which include live-fire drills.
One aspect of the most recent threat I found very odd was the inclusion of “sacred war.” This type of pseudo-religious rhetoric is not something I usually associate with the North Korean government.
The Associated Press is also reporting that Kim Jong Un, the new North Korean leader, has told troops to stay on high alert during his visit to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on the border with South Korea.
Obviously the timing of this visit is quite noteworthy due to the increasingly militaristic nature of the rhetoric from North Korea and the recent deal with the United States.
The trip will be the North Korean leader’s first reported trip to the DMZ since he assumed power after his father, Kim Jong Il, died in December of last year.
The state media released the details as North Koreans gathered in the capital of Pyongyang for a large rally.
The joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises are slated to continue all the way through April, something which is unlikely to ease the tensions in North Korea.
Hopefully nothing will come of these threats, just as was the case with their earlier and similarly dire warnings.
However, I think it is worth taking note of the even more militaristic than usual nature of the rhetoric that North Korea is using right now.
It could be nothing more than idle saber rattling as North Korea has been known to do, but regardless I think it is only destructive for the United States to continue the military maneuvers in the region, especially when North Korea has shown a willingness to make concessions in exchange for aid.
North Korean officials and their American counterparts are also scheduled to meet in Beijing next week to iron out the details for the proposed food aid, according to the United States Department of State.
“The idea is to finalize all of the technical arrangements so that the nutritional assistance can begin to move,” Victoria Nuland, the State Department spokesperson said during a recent news briefing.
“My understanding is we’re down to issues like what port, when, who manages it, how do we count, how do we monitor,” she added.
This seems like a very good sign for the proposed 240,000 tonnes of American food aid, sometimes referred to as “nutritional assistance.”
In exchange for the massive amount of food, North Korea has agreed to suspend their nuclear tests, along with their launches of long-range missiles and uranium enrichment activity at the Nyongbyon facility. They also will allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor the proposed moratorium on the enrichment of uranium.
This solution seems a lot more sensible than the approach being taken by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding Iran, where he has demanded that they dismantle their uranium enrichment program and move all enriched uranium out of the country with absolutely no benefits to the Iranian people whatsoever.
If this deal is successful, maybe Netanyahu will get a dose of sanity and reconsider his belligerent and antagonistic approach to Iran’s nuclear program, but I’m not holding my breath for that just yet.
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