North Korea’s latest propaganda video is filled with rocket launchers, jet fighters, military parades, and the money shot of a U.S. aircraft carrier photoshopped to be on fire.
The UK Telegraph reports the clip was released over the weekend, in coordination with North Korea testing a new high-thrust rocket engine. South Korean analysts believe this test represented a significant step toward accurate multi-stage intercontinental ballistic missiles, although North Korea is still thought to be several years away from delivering nuclear warheads with such weapons.
According to the Telegraph, the aircraft carrier seen in the photo is the USS Carl Vinson, which is participating in joint drills with South Korea and Japan. The overheated narrator of the video promises that “a knife will be stabbed into the throat of the carrier.”
When the video switches to an equally cheesy depiction of a B-1B bomber on fire, the narrator shrieks, “The bomber will fall from the sky after getting hit by a hail of fire.”
Reuters reported on Tuesday that the Trump administration is “considering sweeping sanctions aimed at cutting North Korea off from the global financial system as part of a broad review of measures to counter Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile threat.”
“The sanctions would be part of a multi-pronged approach of increased economic and diplomatic pressure – especially on Chinese banks and firms that do the most business with North Korea – plus beefed-up defenses by the United States and its South Korean and Japanese allies, according to the administration official familiar with the deliberations,” Reuters adds.
According to the report, President Trump wants plans on his desk before his scheduled summit meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in April. The State Department has been quietly informing China that expanded sanctions against banks that do business with Pyongyang would hit a large number of Chinese financial institutions. Small Chinese banks have been crucial in helping North Korea conduct illicit commerce to evade sanctions.
A stronger display of military force is said to be part of the policy mix, although probably not direct military action. Interestingly, Reuters suggests expanded cyber warfare and “covert action aimed at undermining North Korea’s leadership” could be an element of the plan.
On Tuesday afternoon, a North Korean envoy said Pyongyang does not fear broader U.S. sanctions and will pursue “acceleration” of both its nuclear missile and ICBM programs, including nuclear first strike capability.