North Korean State Media: We Are ‘Fully Determined to Reduce’ South Korea ‘to Ashes’

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North Korea’s state media outlets—the only legal media in the communist state—continued their onslaught of violent rhetoric against South Korea and the United States on Tuesday, with one article asserting that North Koreans were “fully determined” to reduce South Korea “to ashes.”

The article, which protested the installation of an American Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea, appeared in the state newspaper Rodong Sinmun. THAAD is designed to protect from missiles and other aerial weapons and reaches far beyond South Korea’s borders into China and near Russia, ensuring the potential to shoot a North Korean weapon out of the sky before it lands.

“THAAD is not capable of deterring the merciless strike by the Juche weapons of the army and people of the DPRK who are fully determined to reduce to ashes the strongholds of aggression and destroy the provocateurs at a single strike,” Rodong Sinmun argued, suggesting that deploying THAAD is “as foolish an act as trying to evade the thunderbolt with a small gourd on the head” and calling the defense system “useless.”

As with most Rodong Sinmun articles, this one ends with a warning that any further objection to North Korea’s nuclear program would result in “miserable doom” for South Korea.

While this article targets South Korea particularly, other pieces in North Korean state media Wednesday vow attacks on the United States, which Pyongyang regularly accuses of “puppeting” South Korean officials. “The US and other hostile forces cannot stop and block the powerful advance of our Party, army and people on the road towards the final goal of completing the national nuclear capability,” a letter in another North Korean outlet, Uriminzokkiri, reads. The article is signed by “Sok Myong Hwa, Chairwoman of Management Board of Gachang Co-operative Farm.”

“We will defend and protect our revolution and socialist system with rice by pushing forward the movement for increasing the crop yield under the banner of self-reliance,” Sok writes.

Another piece, this time at the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), quotes various North Koreans professing their desire to kill Americans. Titled “Korean People Vow to Annihilate U.S. Imperialists,” it features quotes such as “I keenly feel that no one on earth can match our army and people who are possessed of the highly precision and diversified, strongest strategic weapons, Juche weapons” and “the great success in the H-bomb test which stunned the world reflects the faith and will of the DPRK army and people to blow up the U.S. mainland and annihilate the wolfish U.S. imperialists running amuck to cut off the lifeline of the DPRK.”

North Korean officials are also threatening America, not just alleged North Korean civilians. “The recent self-defense measures by my country, DPRK, are a gift package addressed to none other than the U.S.,” Han Tae Song, North Korea’s UN ambassador, said on Tuesday.

North Korea’s state media have for decades distinguished themselves for their heightened violent rhetoric, but their language has become even more bellicose in recent memory and has featured threats to destroy Western civilization on a daily basis since Sunday’s alleged nuclear test. Pyongyang claimed that it detonated a “perfect” hydrogen bomb that day, a claim seismologists have not refuted given the prodigious earthquake following the bomb’s detonation.

South Korea’s government, led by leftist president Moon Jae-in, has withdrawn previous offers for dialogue with the repressive communist regime. Moon has not abandoned his conciliatory rhetoric, however, telling TASS Russian News Agency, “We do not seek to topple the North Korean regime or seek unification by absorption. We seek to form an economic community where the South and the North will co-prosper and this will also contribute to the development of the Russian Far East.”

Others in the South Korean government, however, have called for “powerful” measures against North Korea, particularly UN sanctions, and the Defense Ministry is asking the United States to help it purchase more military hardware to protect from a preemptive strike.

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