SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea vowed today in an alarming announcement to "soon" reduce parts of South Korea's capital to "ashes" for insulting North Korea's leadership.
Regular programming was interrupted on North Korea's state TV today by a special report declaring that "special actions" will be carried out "soon" and aimed at parts of the South Korean capital Seoul.
It said the military attack will use "unprecedented peculiar means and methods of our own style."
"All will be reduced to ashes in three to four minutes," and will involve "form of fire."
"The special actions of our revolutionary armed forces will start soon to meet the reckless challenge of the group of traitors," read the statement.
The targets Pyongyang pinpointed are South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak and "the group of rat-like elements including conservative media destroying the mainstay of the fair public opinion."
Analyst in Seoul are mixed on how serious this threat is and whether military provocation is likely.
The North has for months castigated President Lee and the conservative administration for insulting their leadership and for South Korea's announcement last week of a new cruise missile capable of striking anywhere in the north.
Lee had reiterated media reports that estimated the cost of launching the long-range rocket which the North insisted as a peaceful satellite at $850 million. The rocket blew up into pieces just a little over two minutes after take-off, an embarrassment for Pyongyang that had invited world journalists to witness the launch.
That money, analysts say, could have bought enough Chinese corn to feed the hunger-stricken nation's 1.9 million people for one entire year.
Lee has urged North Korea's new leader Kim Jong-Un to reform agriculture and improve human rights.
The failed rocket launch was the main part of a nationwide celebration to commemorate the 100th birth year of North Korea's founder Kim Il Sung on April 15. South Korean media put the cost of mass celebrations that followed which included a military parade, a new mega-sized statue of Kim Jung-Il, and city-wide fireworks at $2 billion.