After Missile Tests, North and South Korea Wage War of Pictures

Tit-for-tat tension on the Korean Peninsula is often described as “a war of words,” but just as frequently it is a war of pictures, too.

North Korea’s test on Tuesday of an intermediate-range missile that flew for 1,700 miles and passed over Japan before crashing into the sea was the latest provocation by the isolated government in Pyongyang.


North Korea’s state news agency on Wednesday released photos of the intermediate-range missile it launched over Japan the day before. Credit Korean Central News Agency, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Following the missile test, and fired with similarly homespun precision, was a volley of propaganda from North Korea that included photos of the launch and Kim Jong-un, the country’s leader.

A photograph released by the Korean Central News Agency, the North’s state news agency, shows a beaming Mr. Kim surrounded by military officers reportedly taken at the launch site, a clear sign of his personal involvement in the exercise.

If the smile on Mr. Kim’s face does not clearly indicate his pleasure with the country’s latest “muscle flexing,” as K.C.N.A. put it, the agency made clear that he “expressed great satisfaction over the successful launching.” The test was part of a broader plan for “containing Guam,” a United States territory in the Pacific.


A beaming Kim Jong-un, leader of North Korea, after the missile launch on Tuesday. Credit Korean Central News Agency, via Associated Press

Not to be outdone, the South Koreans returned fire on Tuesday with their own saber-rattling threats and camera-shaking video of test missile launches and warplanes conducting target practice.

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