North Korea may have humiliated itself with its last missile test, but it still leads the world in the production of over-the-top political vituperation. Analysts have been looking for Pyongyang to overcompensate for the missile flop, so a statement issued by the North Korean military lashing out at its southern neighbor does not come as a surprise. The BBC has the story:
A special operation to begin “soon” would “reduce its target to ashes”, the military said in a statement. . . .The North’s statement directly criticised South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, the defence minister, analysts and “rat-like elements” including conservative broadcasters, who were accused of “destroying fair-minded public opinion.”
Despite the harsh rhetoric, Seoul is probably not worried; North Korea’s bark has always been far worse than its bite, particularly when its pride has been wounded. Nevertheless, further provocation should not be ruled out.China, meanwhile, hasn’t betrayed any concern about its troublesome ally. Any possibility that the world’s reaction to the missile failure would dampen Chinese support for the hermetic regime was dismissed when one of China’s top diplomats said his country would “push friendly and co-operative China-North Korean relations to a new level.” One wonders whether Chinese officials are more vexed than they’re willing to admit.