North Korea today threatened to take 'special actions' against the South. The rising rhetoric comes as US and South Korean forces devise ways to coordinate closely in the event of battle with the North.
Seoul, South Korea
North Korea today unleashed its deadliest threat so far in a campaign of mounting rhetoric that began with its failed long-range rocket launch on April 13.
Coming after a series of tirades against the South, the North threatened “special actions” that, as reported by Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency, went well beyond the rhetoric in which Pyongyang has been engaging for years. This time, the military command was quoted as saying, “Once special actions kick off, they will reduce all the rat-like groups and the bases for provocations in three or four minutes.”
Although there were no signs that a North Korean attack was imminent, the rising rhetoric disturbs commanders at a time when US and South Korean forces are devising ways to be able to coordinate closely under battlefield conditions.
“I worry more about readiness,” says Major Gen. Edward C. Cardon, commander of America’s forward-most combat troops in Asia, the Second Infantry Division. “There’s always the potential for something to happen here.”
Cardon, headquartered north of Seoul, cites “provocations over the past two years” as evidence that North Korea might again try to take the South by surprise. Those incidents, he notes, include the sinking in March 2010 of the South Korean ship the Cheonan in which 46 sailors died and the shelling eight months later of nearby Yeonpyeong Island that killed two South Korean marines and two civilians.