Bloomberg News

North Korea Threatens South, Tells World to Expect No Change

December 30, 2011

(Updates with actions that provoked North Korea in second paragraph.)

Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) -- North Korea told “the world’s foolish politicians” to expect no change from the new regime headed by Kim Jong Un and threatened a “sea of fire” for South Korean President Lee Myung Bak’s administration.

Lee had provoked North Korea by raising security alerts and declining to send an official mission to pay condolences over the death of Kim Jong Il, the National Defense Commission said in a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency today.

“The world will witness how millions of North Korean people, who transformed sadness to courage and tears to strength under the pillar of the great leader Kim Jong Un, will achieve final victory,” the commission said in the statement.

South Korea announced a “low-level” alert after news of Kim’s death was released and expressed “sympathy” with the North Korean people, while limiting the number of its citizens who could travel to Pyongyang on condolence visits. Lee said the measures were meant to signal that his country wasn’t hostile toward the North, while the regime in Pyongyang issued threats of “unpredictable catastrophic consequences” over the South’s restrictions on visits.

Kim Jong Un, thought to be 28 or 29, yesterday stood on a balcony above Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square, named for his grandfather, where tens of thousands of people gathered to hear eulogies ending a period of national mourning for his father.

North Korea is expected to release a New Year message Jan. 1, in the form of an editorial carried by local newspapers and the state-run Korean Central News Agency. In his address on Jan. 2, South Korea’s Lee will focus on inter-Korean relations, inflation and unemployment, according to an official in Lee’s office who spoke on condition of anonymity.

--Editor: Brett Miller

To contact the reporter on this story: Sangwon Yoon in Seoul at syoon32@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Brett Miller at bmiller30@bloomberg.net


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