North Korea greeted the weekend by stating through its KCNA news agency that it is entering a "state of war" with South Korea. This seems like much more serious news than an earlier KCNA story about using nutritious leeks in seasonal dishes, but there's reason to be skeptical that NoKo's latest declaration means anything at all.
The statement wasn't accompanied by an actual attack, which would have been the most obvious sign that North Korea was serious about this. Instead, it's just more chest-beating, this time in response to the "provocation" of the U.S. flying stealth bombers over South Korea. Most seem fairly sure that this is just more posturing from the country that loves its propaganda:
"Few believe North Korea will risk starting a full-out war," said Reuters.
"What North Korea really wants is legitimacy in the eyes of the U.S. - and a peace treaty," said the AP.
Bloomberg: "North Korea’s rhetoric has had little impact on South Korean stocks, as the benchmark Kospi index closed up 0.57 percent yesterday, headed for its best week in six months."
South Korea's Yonhap News Agency: "Despite Pyongyang's latest threat, border crossings by South Koreans to and from the joint industrial complex in the North Korean border city of Kaesong proceeded normally."
"WAR!" scream-tweeted Drudge Report, because there always has to be that one guy.
Bloomberg's South Korea-based reporter Sangwon Yoon seemed dubious of North Korea's statement, warning the media not to take "state rhetoric" at "face value" and saying the latest threat is "not new" but "continued rhetoric." She later reminded her followers that technically, North and South Korea have been in a "state of war" since the 1953 armistice.
"Nonetheless I'll keep building my Korea Twitter list just in case," tweeted NPR's always prepared Andy Carvin, ":-)"
Update (3/30/13 12:35 a.m. Eastern): Reuters has the full declaration. "Time when words could work has passed," it says; "Time has come to stage a do-or-die final battle." A "three-dimensional war to be fought in the air, land and seas and on the front line and in the rear" is promised ... just as soon as Kim Jong-Un issues the "final order."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.