North Korea's Latest Threat: "Merciless, Sacred, Retaliatory War"

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 9 2013 10:41 AM

North Korea's Latest Threat: "Merciless, Sacred, Retaliatory War"

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (4th R) and senior officials from the party, government, and army posing before the statues of late leaders Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il

Photo by KNS/AFP/Getty Images

Today's daily threat from Kim Jong-un's regime? Foreigners in South Korea should evacuate to avoid being caught up in "a merciless, sacred, retaliatory war."

The threat, a follow-up to Friday's call for all foreigners to evacuate embassies in North Korea, is the latest in a long list of warnings out of Pyongyang. Here's more from North Korea's statement, via the Telegraph:

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Tuesday's statement urged “all foreign institutions and enterprises and foreigners including tourists” in South Korea to “take measures for shelter and evacuation”. It added: “The situation on the Korean Peninsula is inching close to a thermo-nuclear war due to the evermore undisguised hostile actions of the United States and the South Korean puppet warmongers.”

So far, diplomats on the Korean peninsula and the South Korean population at large appear to be ignoring the warnings. That, as Reuters explains, is because North Korea doesn't appear to actually be preparing their army for war. The threat bonanza, in other words, is probably just a propaganda campaign for the country's young dictator.

But that doesn't mean the international community isn't taking precautionary measures in case the threats do escalate into something more. Japan deployed missiles to Tokyo on Tuesday, likely a precautionary measure against the possibility of a "mis-targeted" missile from North Korea, the AFP explains. And U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described the North Korea situation as "very dangerous" on Tuesday, adding, "a small incident caused by miscalculation or misjudgment may create an uncontrollable situation."

Tuesday's threat follows rumors over the weekend that North Korea is planning another missile test on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the U.S. announced this weekend that they'd postpone a missile test of their own in the region as an attempt to avoid unnecessarily provoking the regime in Pyongyang, Reuters reported.

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Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.