Seoul: Tens of thousands of North Koreans
rallied in their capital on Friday to condemn the United States
and South Korea on the 60th anniversary of the start of the
Korean War, while Seoul told Pyongyang to admit responsibility
for a deadly warship sinking.
One large poster at the rally in Pyongyang depicted a man
kicking an American soldier and the slogan "US Army, Get Out"
Another sign said, "Kick Them Out With a Single Punch,"
according to footage shot by broadcaster APTN.
At least 120,000 people marched through the streets,
"raising shouts for hatred and wrath at the US imperialists
and the South Korean group of traitors kowtowing to them,"
according to the official Korean Central News Agency.
The mood surrounding the 60th anniversary of the war's
outbreak is far different from that at the 50th, which came
just days after the conclusion of the first-ever summit
between the Koreas in Pyongyang.
Tensions are high following the March sinking of the
South Korean warship Cheonan in which 46 sailors died. South
Korea has blamed the North for the attack, which Pyongyang
denies. Relations were already sour since conservative
President Lee Myung-bak took office in 2008 in Seoul with a
harder line toward the North than his liberal predecessor.
The Korean conflict started in the early hours of June
25, 1950, with an attack on the South by North Korean troops.
The Korean peninsula had been divided in 1945 after colonial
ruler Japan's defeat in World War II.
The United States and 15 other countries sent troops to
aid South Korea, while Chinese soldiers fought with the North
and the Soviet Union provided air support. Three years of
combat devastated both sides. The fighting ended with an
armistice, not a permanent peace treaty, leaving the peninsula
in a technical state of war.
At today's Pyongyang rally, North Korean soldiers and
civilians crammed the city's central square to shout slogans
and listen to a speech condemning the US, the APTN footage
First Published: Friday, June 25, 2010, 23:33