Because North Korea is nothing if not considerate, their state media warned any foreigners on the peninsula today that they might want to go home soon—unless want to take their chances of surviving "a merciless sacred retaliatory" thermonuclear war. Stating plainly in their latest incendiary message, the ironically named Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee said "It does not want to see foreigners in south Korea fall victim to the war," and urged foreign nationals in Seoul and elsewhere to take shelter or evacuate.
Despite the widespread belief that nuclear annihilation is not imminent, Japan and South Korea are taking no chances that something might happen and are preparing to defend themselves. The lastest prevailing theory is that the North most likely plans to fire a mid-range missile system, merely as test of their capabilities and a show of strength. Although they would likely fire it into the ocean, the neighbors are still understandably wary. Japan has installed U.S.-made Patriot missile batteries around Tokyo and plans to shoot down anything that comes close to their islands. The North has fired a missile over Japan in the past, in isolated incidents that sparked waves of anger and international condemnation, but without anyone being harmed.
Whatever happens, experts believe it will happen soon; possibly within the next week. Monday is the birthday of the nation's founder, Kim Il-sung, and previous rocket launches have been timed to historic dates like this one.
Elsewhere, The Sun newspaper published photos that are purported to be of Kim Jong-un as a teenager studying at a private school in Switzerland. Although no source is given for the photos and it's not confirmed if that's actually him in the pictures, the paper claims Kim played a T-Bird in a school production of Grease and had an adult bodyguard who posed as a 14-year-old student at the school. (Update: It's probably not him.) Now he's threatening to burn the world down with nuclear fire. They grow up so fast.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.