Tuesday, March 06, 2012

North Korea threatens sacred war with the South

North Korea threatened “sacred war” against South Korea in a huge rally in its capital on Sunday, just days after the secretive state agreed with the United States to suspend its nuclear weapons tests and allow back international nuclear inspectors.

Tens of thousands of slogan-chanting North Koreans rallied in Pyongyang vowing to “wipe out” South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s “traitors” whom they accused of defaming their new leader. About 150,000 protesters, including many soldiers and students, shouted “Destroy Lee Myung-bak” and “Let’s safeguard Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un”.

The rally, broadcast live by state TV, appeared to be the largest such event since the young Kim took power after the death of long-time dictator Kim Jong-il in December. Ri Yong-ho, an army general believed to be one of the fledgling leader Kim’s closest confidants in the army, recited a statement issued by the military on Friday, threatening again to wage a “sacred war” against the South. “The Supreme Command of the Korean People’s Army solemnly declares once again that it will indiscriminately stage its own-style sacred war to wipe out the group of traitors,” Ri read.

Many North Korea watchers say the sabre-rattling is aimed at consolidating Kim’s grip on power and attaining an advantage in the latest round of disarmament-for-aid talks with the United States.
In the latest sabre-rattling, state TV said on Saturday Kim Jong-un had visited Panmunjom, the village overseeing the armistice along the world’s most heavily-fortified border between the two Koreas. It was Kim’s first trip to the village since his father’s death.