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February 10, 2016

Welcome to the Club, James Franco and Seth Rogen — A Treasury of North Korea Threats


North Korea this week threatened “merciless” retaliation on the United States over the film “The Interview,” a comedy about the assassination of North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.

North Korea does this kind of thing a lot. In its own uniquely baroque style, it has threatened attacks on South Korea, Japan, Australia, and yes, the United States. (In the above propaganda video, a North Korean citizen dreams of America’s destruction to the tune of “We Are The World.”) Here’s a smattering of some of them, by no means exhaustive:


North Korea threatened “thousand-fold revenge” against the United States over an alleged “black-hearted intention to torpedo the dialogue between” North and South Korea.


Evoking one of its favorite bits of imagery, Pyongyang vowed to turn South Korea into a “sea of fire” after joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises.


There was to be “merciless punishment” for anyone who shot down North Korean missiles that went over their territory, something Japan and South Korea were contemplating.


Kim Jong-un was photographed signing orders to aim missiles at Hawaii (because it’s closer), Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and for some reason Austin, Texas, after simulated raids on North Korean targets by a U.S. B-2 Bomber. There was talk of Hawaii being bombed on July 4 that year, and more saber-rattling in January. In October, North Korea warned of an “all-out war of justice” against the United States.

Also in 2013, for South Korea: “Baengnyeong Island will become a huge grave. If you don’t want to be a ghost in a hell fire, you better decide. We can give you only one suggestion. Run.” And after a United Nations resolution: “The moment of explosion is approaching fast.”


Australia came in for a bit of vague threatening after its foreign minister criticized Kim Jong-un, with Pyongyang saying it “will never pardon but resolutely punish anyone who dares slander the dignity of its supreme leadership.”


Should any of this worry anyone? The fact that none of these threats led to attacks of the variety promised suggests “no,” although sometimes they have been followed by brief skirmishes with South Korea. Mr. Rogen doesn’t appear worried.



But because North Korea has been developing a nuclear program, the constant barrage is hard to ignore. President Barack Obama recently warned that the threats and nuclear tests will get North Korea nothing but more sanctions, with many analysts believing that Pyongyang’s bellicose approach is aimed at wringing concessions from the international community.

The threats have become uglier in the past year or so, too, with racist remarks toward Obama and sexist remarks toward South Korea’s president.

For some of North Korea’s stranger propaganda, not all so much of the military threat variety, read on.

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