http://blogs.wsj.com/korearealtime/2013/03/29/north-koreas-stealth-free-response-to-b-2-runs/North Korea’s Stealth-Free Response to B-2 Runs
The announcement that two B-2 stealth bombers made test runs over South Korea on Thursday clearly triggered alarm in North Korea, where dictator Kim Jong Eun chaired a late-night meeting of military top brass to discuss the U.S. show of force, according to state media.
There Mr. Kim signed off on a plan to strike at U.S. bases in the Pacific, South Korea and the U.S. mainland, the report said, and declared that the “time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists.” As Pyongyang did in announcing earlier that it has those targets lined up, it inserted a conditional clause: It will hit back if the U.S. makes ”a reckless provocation with huge strategic forces.”
To ensure that the message that it’s really very serious about hitting the U.S. gets out, North Korea also released a couple of photos of the meeting that show a map titled “U.S. Mainland Strike Plan” and what are presumably projected flight paths for missiles to Hawaii and the U.S. mainland. (It may take a few more years for North Korea to develop missiles that can actually complete the projected routes.)
The website nknews.org has a good analysis of the map and also notes that the picture in which it appears was carried by the North’s biggest newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, suggesting it is intended to persuade a domestic audience that the regime has a plan for striking the U.S.
The meeting reportedly started after midnight, which suggests state media worked through the night to get its coverage out—a demonstration of how the North Korean propaganda operation has upped its game in recent years. News of major events now often comes the same day, rather than a day later as used to be the case.
The Korean-language report was published at 4:43 a.m. local time, with the English-language version (headlined “Kim Jong Un Convenes Operation Meeting, Finally Examines and Ratifies Plan for Firepower Strike”) following at 6:50.
North Korea watcher Michael Madden, who runs the blog North Korea Leadership Watch, says the increased speed of the media is one of the major changes he’s noticed since Kim Jong Eun took power.
“Kim Jong Eun has people under him who have studied abroad and that makes a difference,” he said. “There’s a faster response time in North Korean media to events and news in South Korea and elsewhere.”
South Korea media reported increased activity at North Korean missile sites on Friday, including vehicles moving to the Tongchang-ri base on the western coast, where North Korea launched its long-range rocket from in December. The Defense Ministry in Seoul said it couldn’t confirm the reports.
Meanwhile in central Pyongyang, the Associated Press reported, there was a staple of North Korean staged seething: a rally of thousands of people, with timeless chants including “Death to the U.S. imperialists.”