North Korea kept the world on edge Thursday over an expected missile launch while turning its own energies to celebrating leaders past and present amid soaring tensions on the Korean peninsula.
The US warned North Korea it was skating a “dangerous line”, as South Korea remained on heightened alert for any missile test that could start a whole new cycle of tensions in a region already on a hair-trigger.
G8 foreign ministers meeting in London drove home the message, condemning “in the strongest possible terms” the North’s nuclear activities and threats to the region.
The North’s state media focused its attention, however, on Thursday’s first anniversary of new leader Kim Jong-Un becoming head of the ruling Worker’s Party and next Monday’s birthday celebrations for late founder Kim Il-Sung. The official party mouthpiece Rodong Sinmun praised Kim Jong-Un as the “No. 1 man of conviction and will” and credited him with the success of the country’s long range-rocket launch in December and February’s nuclear test.
“History has never seen any socialist leader like him,” the newspaper said. The launch and test, along with the UN sanctions imposed for each, are at the core of the current crisis that has seen Pyongyang threaten nuclear strikes against the US and its allies.