North Korea Puts Its War Machine on Display

Mar 27, 2013 |

Despite massive international pressure, North Korea has been moving ahead with its long-range missile and nuclear ambitions, launching a rocket in December and conducting a nuclear test in February. International sanctions tightened in response, and even China, a longtime ally, stepped up inspections of North Korea-bound freight. Responding to the crackdown, North Korea’s government has been issuing new threats of war nearly every day over the past month, cutting ties to South Korea and ordering military units to prepare for attack at any moment. Over the past month, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea’s official media division, has been issuing a stream of images of military exercises, soldiers in training, and, of course, supreme leader Kim Jong Un inspecting and inspiring the troops. (At least one of these images appears to be digitally manipulated). Gathered here are recent KCNA photographs of North Korea’s war machine, as the country wishes the world to see it. The photos were distributed by Reuters, AFP, and AP as a service, and cannot be independently verified or authenticated. [33 photos]

Use j/k keys or ←/→ to navigate  Choose:  1024px  1280px

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (center) looks at the latest combat and technical equipment, made by unit 1501 of the Korean People’s Army, during his visit to the unit, on March 24, 2013. (Reuters/KCNA) 

North Korean soldiers with weapons attend military training in an undisclosed location in this picture released by the North’s official KCNA news agency in Pyongyang, on March 11, 2013. (Reuters/KCNA) # 

The Korean People’s Army conducts a military drill in North Korea in this undated photo. (AP Photo/KCNA via KNS) # 

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches soldiers of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) taking part in the landing and anti-landing drills of KPA Large Combined Units 324 and 287 and KPA Navy Combined Unit 597, in the eastern sector of the front and the east coastal area, on March 25, 2013. (Reuters/KCNA) # 

North Korean members of the Worker-Peasant Red Guards attend military training in this March 13, 2013 photo. (Reuters/KCNA) # 

This undated picture released on March 12, 2013 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspecting a long-range artillery sub-unit of Korean People’s Army Unit 641 at an undisclosed place in North Korea. (KNS/AFP/Getty Images) # 

Kim Jong Un and officers on a hill, watch a flight exercise and a paratroops drill of the Air and Anti-Air Force and Large Combined Unit 630 of the Korean People’s Army, in this undated recent picture released by the North’s official KCNA news agency in Pyongyang on February 23, 2013. (Reuters/KCNA) # 

Kim Jong Un visits the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum where historic relics, mementos and models are displayed, on March 24, 2013. (Reuters/KCNA) # 

Kim Jong Un checks the samples of overcoats for the children of Mangyongdae Revolutionary School and Kang Pan Sok Revolutionary School on March 24, 2013. (Reuters/KCNA)# 

North Korea’s artillery sub-units, whose mission is to strike Daeyeonpyeong island and Baengnyeong island of South Korea, conduct a live shell firing drill to examine war fighting capabilities in the western sector of the front line in this picture released on March 14, 2013. (Reuters/KCNA) # 

North Korean students attend a rally held to show their willingness to enlist in the army, on March 14, 2013. (Reuters/KCNA) # 

Kim Jong Un visits the Wolnae Islet Defence Detachment in North Korea’s western sector near the disputed maritime frontier with South Korea. (KNS/AFP/Getty Images) # 

Members of North Korea’s military cheer on the shore of an undisclosed location, in this still image taken from video shown by North Korea’s state-run television KRT on March 8, 2013. (Reuters/KRT via Reuters TV) # 

Members of North Korea’s military cheer on the shore of an undisclosed location, in this still image taken from video shown by North Korea’s state-run television KRT on March 8, 2013. (Reuters/KRT via Reuters TV) # 

North Korean soldiers greet the North’s leader Kim Jong Un during his visit to the Jangjae Islet Defence Detachment and Mu Islet Hero Defence Detachment, southwest of Pyongyang, on March 7, 2013. (Reuters/KCNA) # 

In this March 11, 2013 photo, Kim Jong Un greets military personnel at a long-range artillery sub-unit of KPA Unit 641 during his visit to front-line military units near the western sea boarder in North Korea near the South’s western border island of Baengnyeong. Kim urged front-line troops to be on “maximum alert” for a potential war as a state-run newspaper said Pyongyang had carried out a threat to cancel the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War. (AP Photo/KCNA via KNS) # 

Kim Jong Un inspects a long-range artillery sub-unit of Korean People’s Army Unit 641 at undisclosed place in North Korea. (KNS/AFP/Getty Images) # 

Kim Jong Un leaves the Wolnae Islet Defence Detachment after inspection in North Korea’s western sector. (KNS/AFP/Getty Images) # 

North Korean soldiers attend military drills in this picture released on March 20, 2013. KCNA said this picture was taken on March 20, 2013. (Reuters/KCNA) # 

This picture released on March 26, 2013 and taken on March 25, 2013 shows North Korean female artillery squads moving a rocket launcher during the landing and anti-landing drills of KPA Large Combined Units 324 and 287 and KPA Navy Combined Unit 597 at an undisclosed location on North Korea’s east coast. (KCNA VIA KNS/AFP/Getty Images) #

Soldiers of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) take part in the landing and anti-landing drills of KPA Large Combined Units 324 and 287 and KPA Navy Combined Unit 597, as Kim Jong Un (not pictured) watched, in the eastern sector of the front and the east coastal area on March 25, 2013. (Reuters/KCNA) # 

Soldiers of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) take part in the landing and anti-landing drills of KPA Large Combined Units 324 and 287 and KPA Navy Combined Unit 597, in the eastern sector of the front and the east coastal area on March 25, 2013. (Reuters/KCNA) # 

Kim Jong Un inspects the second battalion under the Korean People’s Army Unit 1973, honored with the title of “O Jung Hup-led 7th Regiment”, on March 23, 2013, in this picture released on March 24, 2013. (Reuters/KCNA) # 

This March 6, 2013 picture shows soldiers of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) in military training at an undisclosed place in North Korea. (KNS/AFP/Getty Images) # 

Kim Jong Un looks at the latest combat and technical equipment, made by unit 1501 of the Korean People’s Army, during his visit to the unit on March 24, 2013. (Reuters/KCNA) # 

North Korean soldiers attend military drills in an unknown location in this picture taken March 20, 2013. (Reuters/KCNA) # 

Kim Jong Un uses a pair of binoculars to look towards the South during his visit to the Jangjae Islet Defence Detachment and Mu Islet Hero Defence Detachment, southwest of Pyongyang, on March 7, 2013. (Reuters/KCNA) # 

North Korea’s artillery sub-units, whose mission is to strike Daeyeonpyeong island and Baengnyeong island of South Korea, conduct a live shell firing drill in this picture released on March 14, 2013. (Reuters/KCNA) # 

North Korea’s artillery sub-units conduct a live shell firing drill to examine war fighting capabilities in the western sector of the front line in this picture released on March 14, 2013. Kim Jong Un and military officers attended the drill. (Reuters/KCNA) # 

Kim Jong Un talks with soldiers of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) taking part in the landing and anti-landing drills of KPA Large Combined Units 324 and 287 and KPA Navy Combined Unit 597, on March 25, 2013. (Reuters/KCNA) # 

Kim Jong Un talks with soldiers of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) taking part in the landing and anti-landing drills of KPA Large Combined Units 324 and 287 and KPA Navy Combined Unit 597, on March 25, 2013. (Reuters/KCNA) # 

dic

North Korea’s artillery sub-units, whose mission is to strike Daeyeonpyeong island and Baengnyeong island of South Korea, conduct a live shell firing drill in this picture released on March 14, 2013. (Reuters/KCNA) # 

This picture released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency on March 26, 2013 and taken on March 25, 2013 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaking with military officials during his inspection of the landing and anti-landing drills of KPA Large Combined Units 324 and 287 and KPA Navy Combined Unit 597 at an undisclosed location on North Korea’s east coast. (KCNA VIA KNS/AFP/Getty Images) # 

Austin makes North Korea’s target list

Austin makes North Korea's target list
 by Associated Press and KVUE.com

Associated Press

Posted on March 29, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Updated Friday, Mar 29 at 10:41 AM

 

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Across North Korea, soldiers are gearing up for battle and shrouding their jeeps and vans with camouflage netting. Newly painted signboards and posters call for “death to the U.S. imperialists” and urge the people to fight with “arms, not words.”

 

But even as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is issuing midnight battle cries to his generals to ready their rockets, he and his million-man army know full well that a successful missile strike on U.S. targets would be suicide for the outnumbered, out-powered North Korean regime.

Despite the hastening drumbeat of warfare, none of the key players in the region wants or expects another Korean War – not even the North Koreans.

But the threats from North Korea and rising animosity from the rivals that have followed U.N. sanctions over Pyongyang’s Feb. 12 nuclear test do raise worries of a misjudgment leading to a clash.

Kim “convened an urgent operation meeting” of senior generals just after midnight, signed a rocket preparation plan and ordered his forces on standby to strike the U.S. mainland, South Korea, Guam and Hawaii, state media reported. According to NKNEWS.org, Austin is on his list, along with Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

Kim said “the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the prevailing situation,” according to a report by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.

By seemingly bringing the region to the very brink of conflict with threats and provocations, Pyongyang is aiming to draw attention to the tenuousness of the armistice designed to maintain peace on the Korean Peninsula, a truce North Korea recently announced it would no longer honor as it warned that war could break out at any time.

It’s all part of a plan to force Washington to the negotiating table, pressure the new president in Seoul to change policy on North Korea, and build unity at home – without triggering a full-blown war if all goes well.

In July, it will be 60 years since North Korea and China signed an armistice with the U.S. and the United Nations to bring an end to three years of fighting that cost millions of lives. The designated Demilitarized Zone has evolved into the most heavily guarded border in the world.

It was never intended to be a permanent border. But six decades later, North and South remain divided, with Pyongyang feeling abandoned by the South Koreans in the quest for reunification and threatened by the Americans.

In that time, South Korea has blossomed from a poor, agrarian nation of peasants into the world’s 15th largest economy while North Korea is struggling to find a way out of a Cold War chasm that has left it with a per capita income on par with sub-Saharan Africa.

The Chinese troops who fought alongside the North Koreans have long since left. But 28,500 American troops are still stationed in South Korea and 50,000 more are in nearby Japan. For weeks, the U.S. and South Korea have been showing off their military might with a series of joint exercises that Pyongyang sees a rehearsal for invasion.

On Thursday, the U.S. military confirmed that those drills included two nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers that can unload the U.S. Air Force’s largest conventional bomb – a 30,000-pound super bunker buster – powerful enough to destroy North Korea’s web of underground military tunnels.

It was a flexing of military muscle by Washington, perhaps aimed not only at Pyongyang but at Beijing as well.

In Pyongyang, Kim Jong Un reacted swiftly, calling an emergency meeting of army generals and ordering them to be prepared to strike if the U.S. actions continue. A photo distributed by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency showed Kim in a military operations room with maps detailing a “strike plan” behind him in a very public show of supposedly sensitive military strategy.

North Korea cites the U.S. military threat as a key reason behind its need to build nuclear weapons, and has poured a huge chunk of its small national budget into defense, science and technology. In December, scientists launched a satellite into space on the back of a long-range rocket using technology that could easily be converted for missiles; in February, they tested an underground nuclear device as part of a mission to build a bomb they can load on a missile capable of reaching the U.S.

However, what North Korea really wants is legitimacy in the eyes of the U.S. – and a peace treaty. Pyongyang wants U.S. troops off Korean soil, and the bombs and rockets are more of an expensive, dangerous safety blanket than real firepower. They are the only real playing card North Korea has left, and the bait they hope will bring the Americans to the negotiating table.

Narushige Michishita, director of the Security and International Studies Program at Japan’s National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, isn’t convinced North Korea is capable of attacking Guam, Hawaii or the U.S. mainland. He says Pyongyang hasn’t successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile.

But its medium-range Rodong missiles, with a range of about 800 miles (1,300 kilometers), are “operational and credible” and could reach U.S. bases in Japan, he says.

More likely than such a strike, however, is a smaller-scale incident, perhaps off the Koreas’ western coast, that would not provoke the Americans to unleash their considerable firepower. For years, the waters off the west coast have been a battleground for naval skirmishes between the two Koreas because the North has never recognized the maritime border drawn unilaterally by the U.N.

As threatening as Kim’s call to arms may sound, its main target audience may be the masses at home in North Korea.

For months, the masterminds of North Korean propaganda have pinpointed this year’s milestone Korean War anniversary as a prime time to play up Kim’s military credibility as well as to push for a peace treaty. By creating the impression that a U.S. attack is imminent, the regime can foster a sense of national unity and encourage the people to rally around their new leader.

Inside Pyongyang, much of the military rhetoric feels like theatrics. It’s not unusual to see people toting rifles in North Korea, where soldiers and checkpoints are a fixture in the heavily militarized society. But more often than not in downtown Pyongyang, the rifle stashed in a rucksack is a prop and the “soldier” is a dancer, one of the many performers rehearsing for a Korean War-themed extravaganza set to debut later this year.

More than 100,000 soldiers, students and ordinary workers were summoned Friday to Kim Il Sung Square in downtown Pyongyang to pump their fists in support of North Korea’s commander in chief. But elsewhere, it was business as usual at restaurants and shops, and farms and factories, where the workers have heard it all before.

“Tensions rise almost every year around the time the U.S.-South Korean drills take place, but as soon as those drills end, things go back to normal and people put those tensions behind them quite quickly,” said Sung Hyun-sang, the South Korean president of a clothing maker operating in the North Korean border town of Kaesong. “I think and hope that this time won’t be different.”

And in a telling sign that even the North Koreans don’t expect war, the national airline, Air Koryo, is adding flights to its spring lineup and preparing to host the scores of tourists they expect to flock to Pyongyang despite the threats issuing forth from the Supreme Command.

War or no war, it seems Pyongyang remains open for business.

Để lại ý kiến của bạn

Mời bạn điền thông tin vào ô dưới đây hoặc kích vào một biểu tượng để đăng nhập:

WordPress.com Logo

Bạn đang bình luận bằng tài khoản WordPress.com Đăng xuất /  Thay đổi )

Google photo

Bạn đang bình luận bằng tài khoản Google Đăng xuất /  Thay đổi )

Twitter picture

Bạn đang bình luận bằng tài khoản Twitter Đăng xuất /  Thay đổi )

Facebook photo

Bạn đang bình luận bằng tài khoản Facebook Đăng xuất /  Thay đổi )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: