Open Sources: North Korea threatens to fire on South Korea; South Korea says it will fire back

NORTH KOREA THREATENS to fire on people, many of them North Korean refugees, for floating leaflet balloons into their former homeland.  Here’s the original, from KCNA:

The Western Front Command of the KPA issues following notice upon authorization:

1. Rimjin Pavilion in Phaju City, location from where the puppet forces made public they would send leaflets and its surrounding area will become targets of direct firing of the KPA from now. The location is the origin of provocation which can never be left as it is and a target of physical strike to be immediately blown away.

2. The moment a minor movement for the scattering is captured in Rimjin Pavilion and in its vicinity, merciless military strike by the Western Front will be put into practice without warning. Scattering of leaflets amounts to an undisguised psychological warfare, breach of the Korean Armistice Agreement and an unpardonable war provocation.

3. South Korean inhabitants at Rimjin Pavilion and its surrounding area are requested to evacuate in anticipation of possible damage.

The KPA never makes empty talk.

President Bush removed North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism on October 11, 2008, and President Obama has seen no reason to reconsider that decision since.  Discuss among yourselves.

So some things haven’t changed much, except that this time, the South Korean Defense Minister clarifies that the South won’t just take it lying down.  President Lee also visited Yeonpyeong Island and told the ROK Marines there to defend their homeland to the death.  It’s the least you can ask of anyone who’s willing to blow up a budding security alliance with Japan over a visit to farging Tokdo.

Are the North Koreans really stupid enough to do this three weeks before a U.S. presidential election?  If I had to guess, I’d say so.  We may be living in interesting times.

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DAVID AND OTHERS pointed me toward this interview with Kim Jong Il’s grandson, Kim Han Sol, by Finnish ex-U.N. pezzanovante Elisabeth Rehn.  I never found Han Sol’s father, Kim Jong Nam, to be a terribly compelling figure, but Han Sol seems like a genuinely nice kid.  The interview was a lot more interesting than I’d expected it to be, and would have been even more so with much less of Rehn’s rambling, unfocused interpositions and naive, uninteresting opinions.  It’s sad that Han Sol, for reasons that aren’t his fault, probably has no future in his homeland.

Update here, ht to a reader.

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THE DAILY NK REPORTS that North Korea is winning the “jamming war” against South Korean-based broadcasts to the North, which hardly suggests a sincere interest by the regime in opening itself to the world.  The answer is for the South Korean government to give the broadcasters more access to the medium-wave spectrum.

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A JAPANESE ABDUCTEE talks about his life in North Korea.

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A COLLECTION OF CHILLING then-and-now photos of Cherbourg, France, in which the photographer goes back to the exact same places where photographs were taken during World War II.  Do you suppose the people who walk up the front steps to their home know what happened there?  I’ve seen similarly chilling composites of Leningrad.  Some of the pictures are disturbing.

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