SEOUL — A North Korean propaganda outlet Thursday released a video clip showing a simulated attack on the White House and declaring that “the enemy to be destroyed is in our sights.” The video comes at a particularly tense time in relations between North Korea and the United States, with the Trump administration sending warships to the region in a show of force against Kim Jong Un’s regime.
This week, North Korea conducted large-scale artillery drills, showing off conventional weaponry that can easily reach the South Korean capital, Seoul, the center of a metropolitan region that is home to about 25 million people. President Trump, who has been urging China to apply pressure to North Korea and has warned that his administration will act if Beijing doesn’t, convened congressional lawmakers Wednesday to brief them on the “very grave threat” posed by Pyongyang.
At the same time, one of the U.S. Navy’s largest submarines, the USS Michigan, which carries Tomahawk cruise missiles, docked in the South Korean port of Busan this week. The USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier, along with the destroyers and cruiser that make up its strike group, will arrive in the Korean Peninsula area this weekend, as well. A North Korean website, Meari, or Echo, released a video showing photos of the White House and aircraft carriers with a target on them, as if they are in the crosshairs.
It then showed simulated footage of the aircraft carrier exploding into flames, with the caption: “When the enemy takes the first step toward provocation and invasion.”The 2½ -minute video included scenes from the huge military parade that North Korea held April 15 to mark the anniversary of the birth of the state’s founder, Kim Il Sung. It also showed footage of North Korean artillery and missile launches.
Against the background of missile launches, the caption read: “We will show you what a strong country that leads the world in nuclear and missile technology is capable of.” U.S. officials said the Pentagon is developing military options after having directed the Carl Vinson strike group toward the Korean Peninsula. But the Trump administration is also stressing that it has powerful options other than military ones. They include imposing additional economic sanctions on North Korea and further isolating the Kim regime in the international community.
North Korea is known for its bombastic rhetoric and exaggerated propaganda, but it has ramped up its output in recent weeks as tensions have risen. During a concert held April 16 and attended by Kim, a video was broadcast showing missiles arcing over the Pacific and leaving a U.S. city in flames, followed by images of a burning American flag and a cemetery filled with white crosses. Similar videos showing attacks on U.S. cities were broadcast last year and in 2013.
Yoonjung Seo contributed to this report.