KCNA, on behalf of North Korea, is threatening to rain nuclear weapons down upon various media outlets in Seoul.  That’s not hyperbole, if I clarify that the nuclear part is merely implied.

Good times!

Seriously, KCNA has issued a long, threatening statement that gives the lat/long for major South Korean media outlets that are to be struck, possibly with nuclear weapons, if Lee doesn’t apologize for “hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK.”

The coordinates are wrong, by the way.

From the horse’s — which end is KCNA again?

Officers and men of the army corps, divisions and regiments on the front and strategic rocket forces in the depth of the country are loudly calling for the issue of order to mete out punishment, declaring that they have already targeted Chosun Ilbo at coordinates of 37 degrees 56 minutes 83 seconds North Latitude and 126 degrees 97 minutes 65 seconds East Longitude in the Central District, Seoul, Choongang Ilbo at coordinates of 37 degrees 33 minutes 45 seconds North Latitude and 126 degrees 58 minutes 14 seconds East Longitude in the Central District, Seoul, the Dong-A Ilbo at coordinates of 37 degrees 57 minutes 10 seconds North Latitude and 126 degrees 97 minutes 81 seconds East Longitude in Jongro District, Seoul, KBS, CBS, MBC and SBS, the strongholds of the Lee group orchestrating the new vicious smear campaign.

In view of this grave situation the KPA General Staff sends the following ultimatum to the Lee group of traitors:

The revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK are the army of the supreme commander and the people’s army which is devotedly defending the supreme commander and protecting his idea and the people and children whom he values and loves so much.

It is the iron will of the army of the DPRK that the dens of heinous provocateurs hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK and desecrating its idea, system and people should not be allowed to exist as they are.

We would like ask the Lee group if it wants leave all this to be struck by the DPRK or opt for apologizing and putting the situation under control, though belatedly.

It should take a final choice by itself.

Now it is impossible for the officers and men of the KPA three services to keep back their towering resentment any longer. In case dens of monstrous crimes are blown up one after another, the Lee group will be entirely held responsible for this.

If the Lee group recklessly challenges our army’s eruption of resentment, it will retaliate against it with a merciless sacred war of its own style as it has already declared.

We are fully ready for everything.

Time is running out.

No, I would not kid you.  This has to be a first in the history of nuclear coercion.  Can’t wait to see how this gets coded as a MID.   (By the way, is it just me or at the coordinates really, really wrong?  For example, I have the Chosun Ilbo main office located at 62-4 Taepyeongno 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul 100-101 or  37°34’6.60″N, 126°58’33.99″E. The Dong-a Ilbo main office is 139 Chungjeongno 3(sam)-ga, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea or  37°33’42.86″N, 126°57’47.97″E. Poor Joongang Ilbo along appears targeted with some assuracy.)

This is just bizarre.

This is part of a disturbing series of threats over the past few months, including some really ugly depictions of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak as a rat.

One colleague believes that some of this stems from a particularly careless statement from a military source that a new South Korean cruise missile “can precisely fly through the window of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s office in Pyongyang.” Early coverage by the Nautilus Institute noted that the “window statement” coincided with the wave of hostile propaganda depicting Lee as a rat and threatening to”reduce all the rat-like groups and the bases for provocations to ashes in three or four minutes, in much shorter time, by unprecedented peculiar means and methods of our own style.”

An even earlier instance of the uptick in threatening language, however, dates to March — before the cruise missile comment.  That is when the DPRK threatened to reduce Lee — actually his ” headquarters” — to “ashes” in response to a mocking poster at a military base in Incheon (above.)  The offending item was a picture of the two Kims, with text that says either “defeat” or “kill” Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un, posted in a military facility.  (As best I can tell, the picture appeared in the print version of the Korea Herald Business.  If someone wants to take a look at the hard copy in Korea, I’d be obliged.)

One theory I have about all this stems from the Track II interaction that IISS hosted in London with DPRK officials.  One of the topics of our dialogue was the ghastly tone from KCNA and other state media.  North Korean officials were quick to respond with complaints about portrayals in the South Korean media, which led to a discussion about distinguishing official statements amidst the cacophony produced a free society with a vibrant media.  Speaking only for myself, my goal in that discussion was to encourage North Korea to understand that in a free society individuals are not prohibited from making nasty remarks about Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un.  (I didn’t point my blog.)  It never occurred to me that North Korean officials might already have internalized that distinction, only to express it in this very odd way, by targeting the news outlets directly.

I guess this is progress, though it doesn’t have much to recommend it as strategy for media outreach.