NK renews military threats against Seoul
North Korea on Wednesday renewed its threat to stage a retaliatory scared war against South Korean President Lee Myung-bak for insulting its new leader Kim Jong-un.
"Our military and people will cut off the windpipes" of those who provoke and destroy the origins of the provocation by staging a retaliatory scared war, said Ri Yong-ho, a senior military officer, in a televised speech marking the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People's Army.
The bespectacled chief of the General Staff called on the military to remain on maximum alert as he warned that the North will never tolerate any violation of its territory by South Korea or the United States.
North Korea frequently claims that the U.S. has a hostile policy toward Pyongyang and regularly holds military exercises with South Korea as rehearsals for a northward invasion.
South Korea and the U.S. say the routine joint military maneuvers are aimed at bolstering their readiness against a possible North Korean provocation.
Kim attended the ceremony at the April 25 House of Culture in Pyongyang where he was mostly impassive, though he occasionally clapped his hands along with the packed audience of soldiers and officials. He did not make any comment.
Kim later visited the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun to pay tribute to his father Kim Jong-il and grandfather Kim Il-sung, according to the North's Korean Central News Agency. The mausoleum in Pyongyang is considered a scared place, as it is home to the embalmed bodies of both former leaders.
The North's latest harsh rhetoric came two days after Pyongyang threatened to launch special military actions to reduce Seoul to ashes in minutes over South Korea's alleged insult to the North's dignity.
South Korea has warned it is fully ready to retaliate against any North Korean provocation.
Lee has urged the young North Korean leader to give up the collective farm system and pay greater attention to human rights and defector issues.
Lee has also criticized the North for wasting about $850 million in the failed rocket launch, noting the impoverished country could have used the money to buy much-needed food for its 24 million people.
Kim apparently suffered an embarrassing setback when the North's long-range rocket exploded soon after lift-off on April 13 and the U.N. Security Council swiftly condemned the launch.
The North had claimed the launch was meant to put a satellite into orbit, but South Korea and the United States said it was a cover for testing the North's ballistic missile technology.
Separately, the KCNA praised Kim for turning the North's military into an elite army equipped with self-defensive nuclear deterrent, referring to the North's nuclear weapons programs.
"With superb commanding art, matchless courage and toughest countermeasure, he has neutralized the enemies' military provocations and war moves," the KCNA said in an English-language dispatch. (Yonhap)