North Korea releases another propaganda video, this one with Obama in flames

February 20, 2013

Just when you thought North Korean propaganda videos could get no crazier, the country's official news agency Uriminzokkiri has posted a video that reaches new heights of absurdity and bombast. This latest production, flagged by the invaluable NK News, champions the recent nuclear test and repeats the prior video's obsessive focus on the United States.

The video is simple: text, berating the United States and bragging about North Korea's latest nuclear test, appears over CGI-flame-covered video clips of American troops and of President Obama. It ends with a CGI simulation of the nuclear test, which NK News thinks might actually be stolen from a foreign news organization (if you look closely, you can see blurred out squares in the upper corners, possibly covering the network logos).

Also like the previous North Korean propaganda video, this borrows from a popular American video game. The last video used music video from the game Modern Warfare 3. This one, Web commenters point out, borrows the theme song from Elder Scrolls 4, a 2006 fantasy role-playing game. Maybe it's a coincidence that this new North Korean propaganda tactic developed right around the time when Kim Jong Eun took over the country, or maybe the young dictator is a gamer?

Here's the text from the video, translated into English by NKNews. It trumpets the North Korean nuclear program and repeats long-standing accusations that the U.S. troop presence in South Korea is an imperialist invasion.

North Korea has succeeded in proceeding with this nuclear test despite the United States’ increasingly unfair bully activities against North Korea. That United States that has no respect to others nor appreciation to equality…

It is not incorrect to state that the United States strong hostility policy and endless violence toward North Korea in the past 70 years has helped North Korea become one of the world’s strongest military power states.

Words spoken by the United States, a country that uses the law of jungle as the law of survival for fitness, is meaningless. As a result, North Korea’s high level nuclear test conducted against American imperialist invaders is a nuclear deterrent that protects our sovereignty.

Thus, the United States has practically guided North Korea towards nuclear testing and therefore needs to be considered as an American virtue.

North Korea’s third underground nuclear test! Let it be known once more that this is strictly our practical counter-measure for North’s safety and to protect its sovereignty from the aggressors. It is also a solemn warning that time is no longer on the side of the United States.

The people are watching. America should answer.

Christopher Green, an observer of North Korea who writes frequently about the country, offers some interesting analysis in the comments section. He says the video was likely produced in part by pro-Pyongyang South Koreans whose ultimate if unlikely goal is to stoke such fervent Korean nationalism and anti-Americanism that Seoul would expel the U.S. troops and voluntarily place South Korea under Pyongyang's rule. Here's Green:

The piece, which was likely made by South Korean sympathizers in conjunction with their Northern pals, is designed to encourage pro-North groups in the South and stoke the flames of anti-U.S. sentiment in broader South Korean society. As such, it is in line with North Korea's long-cherished aim of getting the U.S. to withdraw from South Korea (I freely admit it is not a tremendously effective step in that direction, but that is by the by) as part of the move toward unification under North Korean rule. Remember that Rodong Sinmun article saying that North Korea was headed all the way to the South Sea under the wise rule of the supreme commander? Same thing, different day.

This goal is indeed outlandish, but it's worth remembering that, just a decade ago, anti-American protests were common on South Korea. That doesn't mean those protesters want to submit to Kim's rule, but it does give you a glimpse of that Korean nationalism, the extreme fringes of which this video might speak to.

More WorldViews on North Korea:

• Why North Korean propaganda steals from American video games (and why willing allies in the South help them)

What's especially scary about North Korea using uranium

Obama’s six options for dealing with North Korea (they’re all terrible)

Why China still supports North Korea, in six little words

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Max Fisher · February 20, 2013