North Korea leveled its most bellicose threat yet at the U.S., threatening to "wipe out the aggressors on the globe once and for all," as the Navy continued to track a ship suspected of carrying banned weapons.
The overheated rhetoric came out of Pyongyang as speculation swirled that the rogue dictatorship may fire a missile toward Hawaii on the Fourth of July and a confrontation loomed off the coast of China, where the Navy is following the rusty North Korean frigate. U.S. sailors have been on the Kang Nam's tail since it left port last Wednesday and were expected to board and inspect it before it docks at Myanmar.
While the U.S. intends to conduct a U.N. approved inspection, the communist nation has said any interception would be viewed as an act of war. On Wednesday Pyongyang accused the U.S. of attempting to spark another Korean War, according to the Associated Press.
"If the U.S. imperialists start another war, the army and people of Korea will ... wipe out the aggressors on the globe once and for all," the official Korean Central News Agency said.
Tensions have been high since last April when the communist dictatorship flexed its military muscle by launching a long range rocket and following it up with an underground atomic test a month later. When the U.N. condemned these acts, North Korea left nuclear disarmament talks in a huff.
Recently, the Japan's Yomiuri Daily reported that North Korea may be planning to fire a missile toward Hawaii 4th of July weekend. The U.S. beefed up missile defenses around Hawaii in the wake of the report.
More tensions between the two nations were stoked when Pyongyang sentenced two American reporters, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, to 12 years' hard labor on charges they sneaked illegally into North Korea.
North Korea has grown more erratic in recent months as its ailing leader, Kim Jong Il, tries to smooth the way for a handover of power to his youngest son, Kim Jong Un. The stroke-addled leader's 26-year-old son now heads the State Security Department, sits in as head of the National Defense Commission, and has been overseeing the handling of the U.S. reporters, according to reports gathered by the Associated Press.
"Safeguard comrade Kim Jong Un with (your) lives as you did for me in the past," Kim Jong Il told officials according to reports from Dong-a Ilbo, a Seoul daily paper. The paper said Kim Jong Il plied key officials with $80,000 luxury cars after instructing them to "uphold" his son as their boss.
While the eldest son would typically assume his father's power, Kim Jong Un's brothers appear to have blown their chances at succession.
The eldest, Jong Nam, 38, made an international fool of himself when he was caught trying to sneak into Japan illegally to visit Disney. And if the leader's former sushi chef is to be trusted, the middle son, Jong Chol, 28, is "too effeminate," according to theAP .