North Korea threatened today that "retaliatory acts will begin without notice" unless it received an official apology from South Korea for "hostile acts" and slandering their "dignity."
The statement by the Supreme Command of the Korean People's Army was referring to Monday's street protest by a few dozen conservative groups in South Korea who burnt effigies of North Korea's Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un. They denounced the Kim dynasty and called for talks between the two Koreas to draw up a peaceful resolution to the current crisis.
"Although acute situation continues, we are celebrating the most celebrative Day of the Sun," the North's statement said. "If the puppet authorities truly want dialogue and negotiations, they should apologize for all anti-DPRK hostile acts, big and small, and show the compatriots their will to stop all these acts."
North Koreans refer to Kim Il-sung's birthday as the 'Day of the Sun' claiming he is revered as the one and only "sun" shining down on his people. A three-day holiday celebrating the 101st birth year, Monday was the beginning of its own "juche" calendar.
Pyongyang did not hold a military parade as was expected, but instead featured music concerts, outdoor dances, and sports events. Citizens lined up at giant bronze statues of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il to pay respect with artificial flowers throughout the day.
North Korea's new young leader Kim Jong-un was spotted at a sports game among military academies with his top aides, including his aunt Kim Gyung-hee and uncle Jang Sung-taek, his two powerful backers in the regime. He later attended a music performance at Pyongyang's People's Theatre.
South Korea's Defense Ministry responded to the new threats as "regrettable" and assured that the military is closely monitoring any moves in North Korea and is ready for any attack. "We will thoroughly and resolutely punish North Korea if it launches any provocation for whatever reason," said Kim Min-seok, the ministry's spokesman.
One or two of North Korea's mid-range Musudan missiles and four to seven mobile missile launchers are still intact at Wonsan and South Hamgyong Province at its eastern coasts, according to South Korean surveillance.
The missile has been fully fueled since before April 10, and is ready to be launched. Pyongyang has not tested the latest Musudan missile that is known to have a range of 1,800 to 2,400 miles and could reach as far as Guam where U.S. military bases are located.