North Korea's Nuclear Threat Gets Some Global Media Play
A threat by North Korea to launch a preventive nuclear strike against the U.S. on Thursday made headlines in Europe and the U.S., but in many cases it didn't get top billing.
Reports said that army general Kang Pyo Yong told a crowd of protesters in North Korea's capital Pyongyang that the country was ready to fire long-range nuclear missiles at Washington.
The Wall Street Journal said the comments were driven by anger about continued United Nations sanctions, which were extended later in the day based on a draft by the U.S. and China, and upcoming U.S.-South Korean military drills.
The threat came just days after former basketball star Dennis Rodman called North Korean leader Kim Jong-un "an awesome kid." The sports star praised the controversial leader after bonding with him while shooting a documentary in the country.
In the U.K., tabloid The Sun, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., featured a story on the situation online underneath several British news items. "North Korea says it will launch nuclear attack on America," its headline read. "Sensational claim from Pyongyang’s foreign ministry comes weeks after the country conducted underground nuclear tests, which caused a huge earthquake."
The Guardian also had the news half-way down on its site under the headline "N Korea threatens US nuclear attack."
The Telegraph broadsheet had one of the more provocative headlines: "North Korea warns of 'thermonuclear war' against US."
Meanwhile, the news out of North Korea topped some TV newscasts and web sites in Germany in the afternoon though where the web site of news magazine Der Spiegel led with the headline "Provocation out of Pyongyang." German daily paper Die Welt decided to go with the more blunt and provocative online headline: "insanity and vision of the apocalypse."
In the U.S., the Journal emphasized: "Although North Korea boasts of nuclear bombs and pre-emptive strikes, it is not thought to have mastered the ability to produce a warhead small enough to put on a missile capable of reaching the U.S. It is believed to have enough nuclear fuel, however, for several crude nuclear devices."
The New York Times site ran the news underneath stories with such headlines as "Charity Takes Gun Lobby Closer to Its Quarry" and "Republicans, Led by Rand Paul, End Filibuster." Its headline for the news of the threat was "North Korea Warns of Pre-emptive Nuclear Attack."
In Asia, coverage was low-key late Thursday.
Surprisingly little coverage was offered in Japan where media had spent much time and space Wednesday on reporting a North Korean threat to rescind a cease-fire with South Korea.
English-language papers in Thailand and Singapore ran small news agency stories in their world news sections, and local papers didn't have any reports as of early evening.
Official Chinese newspapers have run increasingly critical pieces on North Korea in recent weeks though. An op-ed piece on the Global Times two weeks ago actually called on the government to "abandon" North Korea if it continues down its belligerent path.
Clarence Tsui in Hong Kong, Gavin Blair in Tokyo and Scott Roxborough in Germany contributed to this report.