12 Mar 2013

North Korean threatens to wipe out islanders

7:38 pm on 12 March 2013

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has issued a detailed threat to "wipe out" a small South Korean island in an escalation of already elevated military tensions on the peninsula.

In a visit to border artillery units, Mr Kim identified Baengnyeong Island on the south side of the disputed maritime frontier as a priority target in the event of conflict.

Baengnyeong has 5000 civilian residents as well asmilitary units.

In 2010, a South Korean naval vessel, Cheonan, was sunk in the area with the loss of 46 lives and later the same year North Korea shelled a nearby island, Yeonpyeong, killing four people.

Mr Kim's visit coincided with the launch of a joint South Korea-US military drill that prompted Pyongyang to scrap the 60-year-old Korean War armistice, along with non-aggression pacts signed with the South.