Kim Jong Un, or at least those pulling the strings in North Korea, has come out of the gate swinging.
His regime has called South Korea’s President Lee Myung Bak a “pro-US fascist maniac” and a “chieftain of evils” because he placed his troops on high alert after leader Kim Jong Il’s death.
The Associated Press reports Wednesday that the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said the North Korean army would force South Korea to pay a price for the action.
The statement, which was run by North Korean state media, also blasted Lee for barring official delegations from attending Kim Jong Il's funeral in late December.
On Jan. 2, Lee, who has classically taken the hardline on North Korea, and ended no-strings-attached aid in 2008, gave a speech that tried to play to both sides, saying the door was open for better cross-border relations, but he wouldn't hesitate to respond strongly to provocation.
So, what to make of it? Is this the same old dance?
Bradley K. Martin, author of "Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty," said, basically, he thinks so.
It's the "same old bluster" at a time of uncertainty and transition following the death of Kim Jong Il. He wrote by email:
[North Korea] tends to intensify the same old bluster against external enemies at times like this when they need to rally the masses at home for some domestic purpose.
More from Bradley Martin on GlobalPost: Why the North Koreans weep