As you know, North Korea's favorite hobby is reaching into its endless silo of nearly-defunct Soviet-era short-range missiles, pulling out a couple, and lobbing them at South Korea or Japan. This happens on a fairly regular basis, on the orders of maniacal boy dictator Kim "Fatty the Third" Jong-un. But rarely does Kim actually push the fire button himself.
This week, the DPRK's propaganda ministry released photos of L'il Kim inspecting a military battalion stationed on the DMZ, while that battalion was lobbing missiles at a South Korean "observatory" where free Koreans can peer through telescopes looking for starving relatives. Observers suspect the North's tantrum is in response to the presence of an American aircraft carrier in South Korean waters, which the DPRK referred to as a "sinister interference."
Of course, the government in Seoul was not amused, although no return shots were fired, as no missile breached Southern airspace. But "North Korea fired from a position very close to the DMZ. It represents such a threat to South Korea that even our civilian tourists were able to witness columns of water caused by North Korean shells landing in the sea," according to the South Korean Defence Ministry.
"Our government takes the firm stance that we will mercilessly retaliate if North Korea fires missiles or artillery south of its border with the DMZ." "Mercilessly retaliate?" Great, now the South is getting its propaganda talking points from the North.
Meanwhile, Kimmy Kim-Kim has announced that he has no intention of putting the DPRK through yet another famine. Can you guess how Kim, whose allies in the post-Communist world have tired of shipping him grain and cash, plans to pull off this miracle in 2014?
a.) Modernizing North Korea's farming equipment
b.) Privatizing North Korea's farms
c.) Bringing in foreign experts to improve farming practices
d.) Sticking guns in farmers' mouths and saying "work harder"
If you guessed d.), you win one free Internet. While some sectors of DPRK agriculture benefit from Soviet-era mechanization, most farmers till the soil with starving oxen. Over-farming, chronic fuel and equipment shortages, and stopgap policies keep the North's population constantly on the edge of starvation; experts think merely improving farming practices would save countless lives. At harvest time, moms and children are forcibly removed from the cities to toil in the fields, helping rural farmers who don't have the manpower to collect their own harvests.
But while you're probably worried, don't be. As we reported before, in 2012 Kim Jong-un spent $646 million on cosmetics, handbags, leather products, watches, electronics, cars, and top-shelf alcohol for himself. So you know, he's doing fine. And that's all that matters, right?