KCNA (North Korea), YONHAP (South Korea), BBC NEWS (UK), REUTERS, AFP
North Korea has warned foreigners to evacuate South Korea to avoid being dragged into a "thermo-nuclear war" – the latest in a series of provocative declarations that led Japan to deploy Patriot missiles in Tokyo on Tuesday.
Here’s a look back at the North Korean crescendo of threats and war cries that followed sanctions imposed by the United Nations after Pyongyang's third nuclear test earlier this year:
- "We are not disguising the fact that the various satellites and long-range rockets that we will fire and the high-level nuclear test we will carry out are targeted at the United States,” stated North Korea’s National Defense Commission, relayed from KCNA by Reuters on January 24.
- On the following day, KCNA relayed a statement from Pyongyang's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland that read: "Sanctions mean a war and a declaration of war against us," reported BBC News.
- "It was confirmed that the nuclear test that was carried out at a high level in a safe and perfect manner using a miniaturized and lighter nuclear device with greater explosive force than previously did not pose any negative impact on the surrounding ecological environment," the state-run Korean Central News agency (KCNA) declared on February 12.
- The same month, Pyongyang's released a video depicting a city that resembled New York under missile attack:
- “Since the United States is about to ignite a nuclear war, we will be exercising our right to preemptive nuclear attack against the headquarters of the aggressor in order to protect our supreme interest,” read a statement from a spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry, which was carried on the official KCNA news agency, Reuters reported on March 7.
- On March 26, North Korea announced it had put its artillery and rocket units into "combat posture," and threatened to attack South Korea and U.S. bases in Hawaii, Guam and the U.S. mainland, KCNA reported.- “Death to the U.S. imperialists,” and “Sweep away the U.S. aggressors,” thousands of North Korean students and soldiers chanted during a rally in Pyongyang, reported the AP on March 29.
- A spokesman for the General Department of Atomic Energy, said on April 2 that measures would be taken to "adjust and alter the use of existing nuclear facilities" in North Korea, including restarting Yongbyon’s 5 megawatt reactor -- the source for plutonium for North Korea's nuclear weapons program, BBC News revealed.
- Last week, North Korea banned South Korean workers from crossing the border to work at the inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex, only allowing about 800 South Koreans who stayed overnight at the border town to return home, reported Yonhap news agency.