Kim Jong-un has been visiting troops on North Korea's west coast, where he told soldiers to "drive the enemy into a fire pit if so ordered".
They certainly appear to have access to the very latest in nautical technology:
Leo Lewis in the Times (£):
Kim Jong Un yesterday warned frontline North Korean troops that war could break out at any moment, telling soldiers at a coastal artillery battery that a nearby South Korean island was a priority target for annihilation and that commanders should send back photographs of it in flames.
“Once an order is issued, you should break the waists of the crazy enemies, totally cut their windpipes and thus clearly show them what a real war is like,” Mr Kim was quoted by North Korean state media as telling artillerymen.
Residents of Baengnyeong island, which lies in a disputed maritime zone to the west of the Korean peninsula and sits permanently in the sights of North Korean guns, were said to be “a bit scared but not panicked”. Civilian shelters were stocked to survive a bombardment and local military placed on high alert.
Despite Chinese calls for restraint, an editorial in North Korean state media repeated the menace of recent days and said that there was “no telling what could happen in this land now”.
Meanwhile Robert Koehler at The Marmot's Hole reports on a rumour from the South Korean JoongAng Ilbo, to the effect that there was a violent attempt to overthrow Kim Jong-un last year in downtown Pyongyang - which would go some way to explain why the Fat Boy is going down the path of increased bellicosity:
According to the JoongAng, intelligence authorities believe the attempt on Kim Jong-un has played a role in North Korea’s naughty behavior of late—including the long-range missile test, nuke test and armistice threats. To wit, Kim has joined hands with hardliners to stabilize and unify his regime.
Sources also told the JoongAng Ilbo that Kim Jong-un has secretly ordered that a three-stage scenario be drawn up to really heighten fear of nuclear war.
The first stage is aimed primarily at South Korea and North Korea’s own people, and involves threats to abandon the Armistice to create a sense of crisis and the spreading of rumors that a war is soon to begin. In the second stage, North Korea would advise foreigners residing in North Korea to leave and inform foreign embassies to get their nationals out, warning that North Korea would be unable to guarantee their safety in the event of a war. If South Korea still hasn’t caved, the third stage would kick in, involving terrorist strikes on South Korean public facilities or limited provocations like the Cheonan sinking. A high-ranking government official said North Korea was really concerned about public discontent when the food situation turns bad in April.