North Korea: U.N. Sanctions Are "Declarations of War"

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 25 2013 10:30 AM

Who Is North Korea Threatening Today?

North Korean rocket Unha-3, carrying the satellite Kwangmyongsong-3
North Korean rocket Unha-3, carrying the satellite Kwangmyongsong-3

Photo by KNS/AFP/Getty Images.

As we explained yesterday, North Korea is none too pleased with the U.N.'s recent condemnation of its December rocket launch. Kim Jong-un initially focused much of his rage on the United States, which the North Korean government dubbed "the sworn enemy of the Korean people" in a classically hyperbolic statement announcing plans for new nuclear tests to "target" the United States.

Today, Kim and co. refocused their anger closer to home, threatening to take "physical countermeasures" against South Korea if it helps enforce the U.N.'s sanctions, which the north claimed amount to "declarations of war." The New York Times with more:

In a statement issued in the name of its Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, which manages relations with South Korea, North Korea gave no hint of what those countermeasures might be. ...
"If the puppet group of traitors takes a direct part in the U.N. ‘sanctions,’ the D.P.R.K. will take strong physical countermeasures against it,” North Korea said, using the nickname it often uses for the South Korean government and the acronym of its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. " ‘Sanctions’ mean a war and a declaration of war against us."
Advertisement

It's relatively easy to brush off most of the threats that come out of North Korea, given their histrionic language and relative frequency. Still, as the Times points out, this type of threats hasn't always turned out to be full-fledged bluster. North Korea has been known to launch unexpected military attacks at its neighbor to the south, most recently in 2010 when it was responsible for two attacks: the shelling of a border island that killed four South Koreans and the sinking of a South Korean warship that left 46 sailors dead. Regardless of whether the nation launches a similar attack this time around, the Kim Jong-il-like behavior currently being displayed by Kim Jong-un has pretty much quashed all hopes that a change in power would result in a change in posture from North Korea.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

TODAY IN SLATE

The World

The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

Are the Attacks in Canada a Sign of ISIS on the Rise in the West?

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

Is It Offensive When Kids Use Bad Words for Good Causes?

Fascinating Maps Based on Reddit, Craigslist, and OkCupid Data

Culturebox

The Real Secret of Serial

What reporter Sarah Koenig actually believes.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea

Can Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu Pull Off One More Louisiana Miracle?

  News & Politics
Foreigners
Oct. 23 2014 3:47 PM Ukraine’s Slow Descent Into Madness While it fights rebels in the east, Kiev is beginning to crumble from the inside.
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 23 2014 2:36 PM Take a Rare Peek Inside the Massive Data Centers That Power Google
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Oct. 23 2014 1:34 PM Leave Me Be Beneath a Tree: Trunyan Cemetery in Bali
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 3:23 PM This Is What Bette Midler Covering TLC’s “Waterfalls” Sounds Like
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 23 2014 11:45 AM The United States of Reddit  How social media is redrawing our borders. 
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.