SEOUL, South Korea – Nobody does bluster better than Pyongyang.
In the last few weeks the country’s hard-working propagandists declared a “state of war” with South Korea, announced plans to re-start a plutonium-producing reactor, and threatened the U.S. with nuclear Armageddon.
A North Korean spokesman found the time to decry the “venomous swish” of the South Korean President‘s skirt. And Dictator Kim Jong Un reportedly urged front line troops to “break the waists of the crazy enemies, totally cut their windpipes and thus clearly show them what a real war is like.”
Fighting words, sure, but nothing entirely new here.
For decades Pyongyang has promised to reduce to Republic of Korea to a “sea of fire,” using regular rounds of escalation to secure concessions from the outside world. Last week, as part of an almost daily barrage of threats, North Korea warned that it could not secure the safety of diplomats in the capital beyond April 10, and advised foreigners to evacuate Seoul.
But Wednesday came and went, the diplomatic corps stayed put, and Seoul shrugged off the warning, more aggravated, it seemed, than genuinely anxious. “North Korea is using provocation because it has worked in the past,” Cho Han-bum, a senior researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification told TIME. “North Korea is not preparing for war.”
Full dispatch, here.