A video of Kim Jong Eun that aired Thursday on North Korean state TV shows soldiers crying, jumping and running into chest-deep ocean water merely to wave to the young leader as he inspects military units along the South Korean border.
Depending on where you sit, the video is either a portrait of North Korean adoration for Kim Jong Eun or yet another fascinating glimpse into the country's myth-making machine. There's an interesting moment around the 4:30 mark, for instance, where the soldiers gather around for a photograph before spontaneously -- as if on cue! -- mobbing around Kim Jong Eun again with their chants and proffered babies.
As amusing as those images may look from this side of the world, however, Kim Jong Eun's trip had a very serious purpose: The video aired the same day North Korea racheted up its threats against both South Korea and the United States, and comes in the midst of a particularly tense time for peninsular relations. Earlier today, Pyongyang announced it was scrapping the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War.
In fact, even as Kim Jong Eun traveled south to visit the border, North Korea's Vice Defense Minister Kang Pyo-yang was threatening the U.S. from Pyongyang.
“With their targets set, our intercontinental ballistic missiles and other missiles are on a standby, loaded with lighter, smaller and diversified nuclear warheads,” Kang said on Thursday. “If we push the button, they will blast off and their barrage will turn Washington, the stronghold of American imperialists and the nest of evil, and its followers, into a sea of fire.”