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North Korea's Latest Propaganda Video Shows a Nuclear Strike on Washington, DC

The four-minute video ends with the US capital engulfed in a giant mushroom cloud before dissolving into a crackling image of an American flag in flames.
Image via DPRK Today/YouTube

Read and watch more about North Korea in "March Madness," a VICE News special section on the Hermit Kingdom.

North Korea's state news agency released a propaganda video on Saturday that ends with animated ballistic missiles being launched from ships, soaring above the clouds against pastel skies, and then tearing toward Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. The footage shows the US capital engulfed in a mushroom cloud before dissolving into a crackling image of an American flag in flames.


"If the American imperialists provoke us a bit, we will not hesitate to slap them with a pre-emptive nuclear strike," the Korean subtitles in the video say, "the United States must choose! It's up to you whether the nation called the United States exists on this planet or not."

Related: North Korea Is Experimenting with a Different Kind of Rocket Fuel for Better Missiles

The lively four-minute video, titled "Last Chance," was published to YouTube by North Korean mouthpiece DPRK Today. It features a jaunty soundtrack and recounts a litany of "humiliating defeats" suffered by the US at the hands of North Korea. Some of those "defeats" are shown through images from the Korean War, during which 55,000 American troops were killed. There are also images that show the capture of the USS Pueblo, a US spy ship, in 1968. The USS Pueblo is now the centerpiece of North Korea's war museum, and Pyongyang's treasured relic of the Cold War. It is also the only US Navy vessel held by a foreign country.

The video isn't a dramatic departure from North Korea's usual saber-rattling rhetoric, which usually attempts to convince the rest of the world that Pyongyang wouldn't hesitate to launch a nuclear attack if it is provoked. In 2014, a senior North Korean military official made similar against the White House and Pentagon during a military rally in Pyongyang.

"If the US imperialists threaten our sovereignty and survival," Hwang Pyong-so said, "Our troops will fire out nuclear-armed rockets at the White House and the Pentagon – the sources of all evil." The threat came just one month after North Korea condemned the soon-to-be released comedy The Interview starring James Franco and Seth Rogen as "an act of war."


Since the UN imposed particularly harsh sanctions on North Korea in response to its nuclear test and long-range rocket launch earlier this year, Pyongyang has ratcheted up its bellicose language even further.

Related: Kim Jong-un Posed for Photos With What North Korea Claims Is a Nuclear Warhead

On March 7, North Korea's National Defense Commission warned of a "pre-emptive nuclear strike of justice" on both Washington, DC and Seoul. On Friday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un observed a live-fire long-range artillery drill purporting to replicate a strike on the South Korean presidential palace.

On Saturday, North Korea also demanded an apology from South Korean leader Park Geun-hye for "treason". Pyongyang said it was fully prepared to strike Geun-hye's residence, and was waiting for Seoul to agree to a public execution of treasonous officials.

North Korea has released similar videos leveraging threats against the United States in the past. Three years ago, Pyongyang aired a slew of videos intended to promote its missile program. One of the videos showed an attack on lower Manhattan, lifting animations and music directly from the videogame Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. The video was removed from YouTube after a copyright complaint from Activision, the video game company behind the Call of Duty franchise.

Follow Tess Owen on Twitter: @misstessowen