PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — There's been no sense of panic today in North Korea's capital, despite the warning from the government there that it's on the verge of a nuclear war with South Korea.
The North today urged foreign companies and tourists in South Korea to leave. The warning is being seen as an attempt to scare foreigners into pressing their own governments to push for action from the U.S. and South Korea to avert a conflict.
The scene in Pyongyang isn't reflecting the ominous warning. North Korea today has been marking the 20th anniversary of the late leader Kim Jong Il's appointment as chairman of the National Defense Commission. Women in traditional Korean dresses have been dancing in plazas across the country to celebrate.
The White House is calling the warning "more unhelpful rhetoric."
North Korea has been girding for a showdown with the U.S. and South Korea for months. North Korea's leader last week declared the pursuit of nuclear weapons to be a national goal. And the North said it would restart a nuclear complex that had been mothballed. The commander of U.S. Pacific Command, Adm. Samuel Locklear, told a Senate panel today that he agrees with assessments that the tension between North Korea and the West is the worst since the end of the Korean War.
209-a-09-(Admiral Samuel Locklear, commander, U.S. Pacific Command, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee)-"still in power"-Admiral Samuel Locklear, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, says North Korea is showing no letup in its historic cycle of carrying out provocative actions while demanding international concessions. (9 Apr 2013)
<<CUT *209 (04/09/13)>> 00:09 "still in power"
184-c-14-(Sam Kim, AP correspondent)-"Korean managers lingering"-AP correspondent Sam Kim reports North Korean workers have been warned to stay away from a jointly run factory complex with South Korea. (9 Apr 2013)
<<CUT *184 (04/09/13)>> 00:14 "Korean managers lingering"
185-c-17-(Sam Kim, AP correspondent)-"Korea feel scared"-AP correspondent Sam Kim reports analysts say the new threat is probably just a ploy to make other countries anxious. (9 Apr 2013)
<<CUT *185 (04/09/13)>> 00:17 "Korea feel scared"
GRAPHICSBANK: North Korea flag texture, with lettering, TENSION, on texture, finished graphic (9 Apr 2013)
APPHOTO SEL113: U.S. Army soldiers conduct their annual military drills in Yeoncheon, South Korea, near the border with North Korea, Tuesday, April 9, 2013. North Korea on Tuesday urged all foreign companies and tourists in South Korea to evacuate, saying the two countries are on the verge of a nuclear war. The new threat appeared to be an attempt to scare foreigners into pressing their governments to pressure Washington and Seoul to act to avert a conflict.(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon) (9 Apr 2013)
<<APPHOTO SEL113 (04/09/13)>>
APPHOTO XDG104: Reelected in the airport building glass, passengers disembark from North Korea's Air Koryo flight as they arrive at the Pyongyang International airport on Tuesday, April 9, 2013. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) (9 Apr 2013)
<<APPHOTO XDG104 (04/09/13)>>