North Korea issues new threats over protests in South
But despite the new ultimatum, the North Korean leadership was looking for a way to cool down its rhetoric after weeks of warnings of war, a senior U.S. military official in South Korea said.
On Monday, the North dropped its shrill threats against the United States and South Korea as it celebrated the 101st anniversary of the birth of its first leader, Kim Il-Sung, raising hopes for an easing of tension in a region that has for weeks seemed on the verge of conflict.
The hint of a scaling back of the confrontation followed offers of talks with the isolated North from both the United States and the South.
But the North’s KCNA news agency said on Tuesday the North Korean army had issued an ultimatum to the South after rallies in the South on Monday at which portraits of North Korea’s leaders were burned.
“Our retaliatory action will start without any notice from now,” KCNA reported, citing military leaders of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), as North Korea is officially known.
(CNN) —A BBC journalist who got into North Korea by using a group of students from a top British university as camouflage is facing accusations that he recklessly endangered their safety and damaged the school’s reputation . BBC reporter John Sweeney posed as a student from the London School of Economics and Political Science, or LSE, on a visit to the secretive nation last month, during which he filmed footage for the broadcaster’s prime-time current affairs show “Panorama.” He traveled with his wife and a cameraman.
Officials and student representatives from the LSE say Sweeney didn’t fully explain the situation to the students he was traveling with in advance, saying only that “a journalist” would join the trip. In doing so, they say, he put the students at risk and jeopardized future visits by the school’s academics to North Korea and other politically sensitive countries.
“The students were not given enough information to enable informed consent, yet were given enough to put them in serious danger if the subterfuge had been uncovered prior to their departure from North Korea,” the LSE said in a statement.
The authoritarian North Korean regime tightly controls who enters its territory, with journalists from the international news media, including CNN, often refused entry. Authorities significantly restrict the movements of those who are allowed in. And the penalties for those who break the rules can be severe.
In 2009, two American journalists reporting from the border between North Korea and China were arrested and received heavy prison sentences. They were released later that year after former President Bill Clinton flew to North Korea and met with top officials there.
The LSE students and the BBC journalists all returned safely from their trip last month, but some of the students then complained about what Sweeney had done, said Alex Peters-Day, the secretary-general of the LSE’s students union.”I think it’s absolutely disgraceful that he put students in that position,” she said Sunday in an interview with the BBC. “It’s incredibly reckless.”According to Peters-Day, the students “were lied to, they weren’t able to give their consent.”But Sweeney and the BBC say the students on the trip were aware of the risks involved.