North Korea Threatens 'Fire of Retaliation' on the South

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North Korea state television issued a bizarre, but ominous threat to "soon" launch a "fire of retaliation" against their South Korean neighbors and their "rat-like" president Lee Myung Bak. The statement claims that the people of the North were incensed by Lee's comments criticizing the failed test launch of a North Korean ballistic missile 10 days ago. The South also announced on Thursday that it was deploying its own new long-range cruise missiles that can strike anywhere in the North, but which Pyongyang considered to be its own threat and an insult against their leader Kim Jong-Un. 

The North Koreans have made several similar threats against the South in the recent past, but has not followed through on any of them. However, this one is particularly aggressive, both in the wording and the manner it was made. The state news service interrupted regular programming for a "special announcement" and after hurling several personal insults at President Lee, stated that the armed forces would make a move soon.

"Once the above-said special actions kick off, they will reduce all the rat-like groups and the bases for provocations to ashes in three or four minutes, in much shorter time, by unprecedented peculiar means and methods of our own style. Our revolutionary armed forces do not make an empty talk."

The North held massive rallies on Friday, denouncing Lee for "desecrating" the centennial birthday celebration of North Korean founder Kim Il-Sung. Lee stated the failed rocket launch cost more than $850 million, or 2.5 million tons of corn for starving Northerners. A Foreign Ministry official responded by calling Lee "human scum."

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Ever since the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel in 2010 and an exchange of artillery fire between the two nations a few months later, tensions have running high between the two nations. Many experts worried that the embarrassing public failure of the North's rocket test would simply lead to more tough rhetoric and perhaps a further provocation, via a new nuclear weapon test or even an actual attack on the South. There's no way of knowing how serious this particular threat is, but there's no doubt now that the North intends to keep its reputation as a dangerous, unpredictable threat intact.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.