North Korean Demonstrators 370 R.
(photo credit: REUTERS/KRT via REUTERS TV)
North Korea threatened "sacred war" against the South in a huge rally in the capital on Sunday just days after the secretive state agreed with the United States to suspend its nuclear weapons tests and allow back international nuclear inspectors.
Tens of thousands of slogan-chanting North Koreans rallied in Pyongyang vowing to "wipe out" South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's "traitors" whom they accused of defaming their new leader, Kim Jong-un, and of staging inflammatory war games with the United States.
The rally, broadcast live by state TV, appeared to be the largest such event since the young Kim took power after the death of long-time dictator Kim Jong-il in December.
North and South Korea are still technically at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.
Pyongyang's state media has recently beefed up the rhetoric against South Korea's Lee and military leaders, accusing them of allowing an army unit to hang portraits of the two Kims and "scrawl unspeakable defamatory words" below them.
South Korean media has said soldiers at a military unit in the western city of Incheon posted the photos of both Kim Jong-un and his father inside a building, along with the inscription: "Let's kill Kim Jong-un."
Many North Korea watchers say the sabre-rattling is aimed at consolidating Kim's grip on power and attaining an advantage in the latest round of disarmament-for-aid talks with the United States.
On Wednesday, Washington and Pyongyang announced the North had agreed to suspend nuclear tests, uranium enrichment and long-range missile launches and to allow checks by international nuclear watchdog inspectors in return for food aid.