North Korea’s Threats

North Korea’s war threats go ballistic. We look at how South Korea and the United States are responding.

In this Sunday, March 31, 2013 photo released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and distributed in Tokyo Monday, April 1, 2013 by the Korea News Service, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives a speech during a plenary meeting of the central committee of the ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang, North Korea. (AP/KCNA via KNS)

In this Sunday, March 31, 2013 photo released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and distributed in Tokyo Monday, April 1, 2013 by the Korea News Service, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives a speech during a plenary meeting of the central committee of the ruling Workers’ Party in Pyongyang, North Korea. (AP/KCNA via KNS)

North Korea is the world master of high-drama military bluster.  Everyone knows their practically operatic cycles of threats and rage.  But even so, the vitriol and threats out of North Korea lately have been notable.

A “state of war” with South Korea, they say.  Ashes and flame on the way.  And time to settle accounts with the United States.  Threats of nuclear attack on the US.

We’ve all seen their missile tests.  Their nuclear pride.  Now Pyongyang says it will restart a critical reactor.  Is it different this time?

This hour, On Point:  playing with fire on the Korean peninsula.

-Tom Ashbrook


Alastair Gale, South Korea bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. (@alastairgale)

John Delury, assistant professor of East Asia studies at Yonsei University’s Graduate School of International Studies. (@johndelury)

Han Park, professor of International Affairs and director of the Center for the Study of Global Issues (GLOBIS) at the University of Georgia.

Walter Sharp, retired U.S. Army four-star general.

Tom’s Reading List

CBS News “The White House says that despite bellicose rhetoric from North Korea the Obama administration has not seen changes in the regime’s military posture. White House press secretary Jay Carney said Mondays the U.S. has not detected any military mobilization or repositioning of forces from Pyongyang to back up the threats from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.”

CNN “The U.S. Navy is moving a sea-based radar platform closer to the North Korean coast in order to monitor that country’s military moves, including possible new missile launches, a Defense Department official said Monday.”

The Daily Beast “Every year Pyongyang makes bombastic threats before the U.S.–South Korea military exercises. Then the North Koreans go quiet when the drills begin. This year, however, the tantrum has continued, and the words have become increasingly dire. This month, for instance, Pyongyang abrogated the armistice ending the Korean War and threatened preemptive nuclear strikes on the United States. The one-a-day rhetorical blasts suggest something is terribly wrong inside the North Korean regime.”


Footage released by North Korea showing soldiers firing at targets marked “U.S.A.”

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