Thu, 18 Jul 2019

SEOUL - North Korea Wednesday warned the United States of "merciless" retaliation if it went ahead with the release of a Hollywood comedy that mocks its leader, Kim Jong-un, calling the movie an "act of war".

"If the United States administration tacitly approves or supports the release of this film, we will take a decisive and merciless countermeasure," a spokesman for North Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

"The enemies have gone beyond the tolerance limit in their despicable moves to dare hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership."

The statement was carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). It didn't specifically mention the movie but was clearly referring to a Hollywood movie, "The Interview", about an assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

The movie is due for release in October. It has a star cast of Seth Rogen and James Franco as a producer and talk-show host. They get an exclusive interview with Kim and are then asked by US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to assassinate him.

Producers of the movie have already released a teaser trailer on Youtube. It shows a lookalike actor playing Kim as well as combat scenes involving what appear to be North Korean tanks and helicopters, and a nuclear missile launch, according to the BBC.

The film's publicity poster shows North Korean tanks and missiles with a sign that says: "War will begin!" The poster also says in Korean: "Don't believe these ignorant Yankees!"

In the teaser, a CIA analyst briefs the American dupe on North Korea and Kim. "You are entering into the most dangerous country on Earth. Kim Jong-un's people believe anything he tells them, including that he can speak to dolphins or he doesn't urinate or defecate."

"Making and releasing a movie on a plot to hurt our top-level leadership is the most blatant act of terrorism and war and will absolutely not be tolerated," the North Korean statement said.

It added that the "reckless US provocative insanity" of mobilising a "gangster filmmaker" to challenge the North's leadership was triggering "a gust of hatred and rage" among North Korean people and soldiers.

The executive director of the Center for North Korea-US Peace said the storyline of the movie has "a special irony".

"It shows the desperation of the US government and American society," Kim Myong-chol, the unofficial spokesman for Pyongyang, told The Telegraph earlier.

"A film about the assassination of a foreign leader mirrors what the US has done in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine. And let us not forget who killed [President John F.] Kennedy Americans."

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