Earlier today, Vladimir Putin warned that “the situation in Korea is deteriorating” and joined China in urging all sides to “avoid belligerent rhetoric.” It was not clear what spooked the Russian president to escalate the rhetoric over North Korea, however in a move that will hardly help deescalate tensions, a North Korean propaganda outlet released a video clip on Thursday, which showed a simulated attack on the White House and declaring that “the enemy to be destroyed is in our sights.”
The video was released just days after North Korea conducted large-scale artillery drills, showing off conventional weaponry that can easily reach South Korea’s capital, Seoul. It also comes one day after the entire Senate was gathered at the White House to receive a briefing from Trump’s top generals on the situation in North Korea. At the same time, the US sub, USS Michigan, which carries Tomahawk cruise missiles, docked in the South Korean port of Busan this week. The USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier, along with the destroyers and cruiser that make up its strike group, will arrive in the Korean Peninsula area this weekend.
The clip was released by a North Korean website (Meari, or Echo) showing photos of the White House and aircraft carriers with a target on them, as if they are in the crosshair, the WaPo reported earlier. It then showed simulated footage of an aircraft carrier exploding into flames, with the caption: “When the enemy takes the first step toward provocation and invasion.”
The 2½ -minute video included scenes from the huge military parade that North Korea organized April 15 to mark the anniversary of the birth of the state’s founder, Kim Il Sung. It also showed footage of North Korean artillery and missile launches.
Against the backdrop of missile launches, the caption read: “We will show you what a strong country that leads the world in nuclear and missile technology is capable of.”
A similar video, showing missiles arcing over the Pacific and leaving a U.S. city in flames, followed by images of a burning American flag and a cemetery filled with white crosses, was shown during a concert held April 16 and attended by Kim.
While North Korea is best known for its bombastic rhetoric and exaggerated propaganda, in recent weeks it has ramped up its output as tensions have risen. On the other hand, the country has abstained from engaging in more missiles tests (either successful or otherwise) or nuclear bomb tests, prompting some to speculate whether the recent intervention by China may have impacted Kim’s behavior.
On the other hand, if indeed the US has managed to sabotage North Korea’s missile technology as the NYT alleged several months ago, and has launch control, what Kim wants may no longer be relevant and the only variable is having all key US military assets in place before a simulated war with North Korea becomes all too real.