Kim Jong-Un is pushing his luck. At least that seems to be the opinion of many who are watching the tensions unfold between North Korea and the United States. The recent Day of the Son festivities honoring the founding of North Korea featured a number of performances meant to show strength, but one is simply provocative: a opera of sorts that ends with a U.S. city being nuked.
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The performance was simply symbolic. Yet the symbolism was so blatant that there is no debating its meaning. Uniformed soldiers stood on stage, singing, while a large screen showed North Korean missiles being launched at the continental United States.
The show was part of celebrations that marked the birthday of founding father Kim Il Sung. Kim Jong-un was there for the performance.
Part of the footage appears to be cut from footage of recent test launches, though not the most recent. The missile tested on Saturday exploded on lift-off.
For those who may have been confused by the images of exploding nuclear warheads, the video went one step further and showed a burning American flag and rows of white crosses.
“When the performance was over, all the performers and participants in the military parade broke into enthusiastic cheers of ‘hurrah!’,” KCNA news agency said. The state run news then showed images of a pleased Kim Jong-Un smiling and celebrating with the crowd of gathered soldiers.
“The Dear Supreme Leader waved back to them and congratulated the artistes on their successful performance,” KCNA said.
This type of performance, with all of its operatic splendor, is little more than propaganda. Analysts are uncertain of North Korea’s ability to deliver nuclear warheads to the mainland of the United States, though they are certain that the country poses a direct threat to Japan, South Korea, and much of the Pacific region.
There are 28,000 US troops stationed in South Korea, and even more in Japan. The build up of forces in the region looks ominous. Vice President Mike Pence visited South Korea on Sunday and spoke directly to his troops. The United States has been allied with South Korea for decades and is bound to defend the country in the case of any attack.
The tensions extend well beyond the Korean Peninsula. The Russians have stepped up their patrols in response to the increased presence of American forces, and China, the most significant supporter of North Korea, is reportedly trying to use economic incentives to talk down the North Korean regime.