The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Politics

April 11, 2013

From N. Korea, the latest in a long line of propaganda — that’s still effective

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

It's easy to explain why the media are so quick to amplify every blast, said John Delury, an assistant professor at Yonsei University in Seoul who studies North Korea.

"The vitriolic statements are so quotable, if not laughable," he said. For North Koreans, they're part of everyday life.

"This is a natural part of their language," Delury said in a telephone interview. "It's kind of in their DNA. It's deeply rooted in their history. They still feel they're fighting off the whole world to survive."

Analysts such as Aidan Foster-Carter, honorary senior research fellow in sociology and modern Korea at Leeds University in Britain, say they've noticed an increase in vitriol since Kim Jong-Un took power a year ago after the death of his father, Kim Jong-Il.

While North Korea has for years threatened to turn Seoul, which is within range of its artillery, into a "sea of fire," it more recently has taken aim at the distant U.S.

"The U.S. mainland is similar to a boiled pumpkin," the state news agency said, quoting an official of Kim Il-Sung Military University. "This vast territory will inevitably turn into a living hell of appalling disasters by the annihilating strikes to be dealt by the Korean People's Army."

No nuclear-armed North Korean missile, though, can reach Anchorage or Honolulu, never mind Seattle, San Francisco or Austin, Texas, which found its way onto Kim's hit list for reasons that aren't clear.

"Claiming now that they can destroy Washington is new," said Cossa. "It's not credible, but it's new."

Credibility has never been a major concern of North Korea's propaganda machine, he said.

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