North Korea threatens nuclear strike on White House

Last Updated: Monday, July 28, 2014 - 15:25

Seoul: A top-ranking North Korean military official has threatened a nuclear strike on the White House and Pentagon after accusing Washington of raising military tensions on the Korean peninsula.

The threat came from Hwang Pyong-So, director of the military`s General Political Bureau, during a speech to a large military rally in Pyongyang yesterday on the anniversary of the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

Hwang, who holds the rank of vice marshal in the Korean People`s Army, said a recent series of South Korea-US military drills, one of which included the deployment of a nuclear- powered US aircraft carrier, had ramped up tensions.

"If the US imperialists threaten our sovereignty and survival... Our troops will fire our nuclear-armed rockets at the White House and the Pentagon - the sources of all evil," Hwang said in his speech broadcast today on state television.

It is not the first time that North Korea`s bellicose rhetoric has included threats of nuclear strikes on the continental United States and US bases in the Pacific.

But most experts believe it is still a long way from developing a viable intercontinental ballistic missile with the required range.

The North has conducted three nuclear tests, but is not thought to have mastered the miniaturisation techniques necessary for mounting a warhead on a missile.

It does possess a range of short-and mid-range missiles capable of striking South Korea and Japan, and has conducted a series of test firings into the Sea of Japan (East Sea) in recent weeks.

The latest test on Saturday - guided by the leader Kim Jong-Un - simulated a short-range missile strike on South Korea where 28,500 US troops are stationed, the North`s state media said.

It defied censure by the UN Security Council which officially condemned Pyongyang on July 17 over the recent tests as violations of UN resolutions prohibiting the North from using ballistic missile technology.

China`s Xi approaches Mao in state media mentions: report
Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping`s name has graced the pages of the Communist Party`s flagship newspaper more frequently than any other leader since founding father Mao Zedong, according to researchers.

The report by the University of Hong Kong`s China Media Project comes amid a much-publicised anti-graft crackdown which some analysts say Xi has used to root out political enemies and solidify his grip on power.

In the 18 months since he ascended to the Chinese Communist Party`s leadership in November 2012, Xi has been mentioned by name 4,725 times in the party`s flagship newspaper, the People`s Daily newspaper, researchers found.

That compared with 2,001 and 2,405 times for his predecessors Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao during the 18 months after they each took office, according to the study, led by professor Qian Gang and released earlier this month.

Xi`s total was second only to that of Mao Zedong, the Communist Party`s founding father, who was cited by name nearly 7,000 times in the 18 months after the 9th party congress in 1969, when the tumultuous Cultural Revolution was in full swing.

Mao was at the centre of a huge personality cult in China, and the ruling party has since sought to avoid a repetition.

But the report concluded that "since the Deng Xiaoping era (in the 1980s), there has been a gradual rise in intensity" in mentions of top leaders` names.

Xi came even closer to Mao in terms of front-page People`s Daily mentions, they said, with 1,311 for the incumbent and 1,411 for Mao.

By contrast Jiang had 1,003 in his corresponding period and Hu had 987.

In the 18 months since Xi took power, "the party newspapers have begun to advocate strongly on behalf of the leadership," the study said.

Xi was also the centre of attention for the People`s Daily compared with other members of the current leadership, with 745 front-page headlines in the 18 months since taking office, compared with 365 for Premier Li Keqiang.

The other five members of China`s all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee each received only double-digit mentions.

In addition to being China`s president and the general secretary of the ruling party, Xi has also assumed control of several top bodies, including the newly-established national security committee.

AFP

First Published: Monday, July 28, 2014 - 15:25

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