Pyongyang threatened to retaliate without warning if South Korea didn’t offer an apology for a demonstration in Seoul that featured the burning effigies of Kim Jong-Un, his father, and his grandfather. The new demand comes during a sudden reduction in hostile rhetoric from the North, and even this reaction seems relatively muted after the wild threats from the Kim regime over the last few months, says CNN:
CBS and the AP also noted the “prickly” new threats over the demonstration:
In the North, Pyongyang quietly marked a second day of celebrations for its first leader’s birthday Tuesday and issued prickly new rhetoric threatening retaliation for what it sees as provocations by South Korea and the U.S., who have been watching closely for signs North Korea will go ahead with a suspected plan to test a medium-range missile.
State media said the Supreme Command of the Korean People’s Army issued an ultimatum demanding an apology from South Korea for “hostile acts” and threatening that unspecified retaliatory actions would happen at any time. …
The angry ultimatum, relayed through the Korean Central News Agency, was sparked by a protest of about 250 people in downtown Seoul, where effigies of Kim Il Sung and his son and successor, the late leader Kim Jong Il, were burned. One protester carried a placard saying “Kim Jong Un Out.” Such protests are not unusual in South Korea and this one was likely more of a pretext for the North to react to calls that it join in dialogue with its neighbors than an actual cause for retaliation.
The main anniversary celebrations have come and gone in the DPRK, and still … no missile launch. None appears forthcoming either, as Pyongyang hasn’t alerted the maritime authorities to a test as is customary to avoid unintended injury and damage. Most of us assumed that a missile test was Kim’s face-saving end game. At least for the moment, though, it looks as though the crisis may fizzle rather than sizzle.
CNN’s Jim Clancy is also perplexed:
Perhaps the missiles Pyongyang planned to test aren’t up for the task? I’d still expect to see some fireworks, though, because a total climbdown after all this nonsense will be difficult to explain for the ruling clique in the DPRK.