North Korea 'Photoshopped' marine landings photograph
NORTH Korea has been accused of "photoshopping" an amphibious landing by its forces as part of its all-out propaganda campaign threatening war on the divided penninsula.
The Communist dictatorship has issued daily warnings that it is preparing for an offensive that would break the armistice that ended the Korean war 70 years ago this year.
Its latest beligerent declaration was that conditions exist for a "nuclear war" between it and the hostile US-backed alliance it faces.
But amid footage of rocket attacks, army manoeuvres, and on-the-spot inspections by its leadership, it stretched credulity by publishing a sun-drenched scene of nine landing craft carrying marines to storm the beaches. At least half the boats were throwing up the same spray of water and the weather was suspiciously mild compared with other images from the exercises.
But as Winston Churchill once noted the lie was half way around the world before the truth caught up.
Several international news outlets published the photograph before the AFPs newsagency pulled the shot, which it had relayed from the KCNA news agency, claiming "excessive digital alteration" had taken place.
The debacle occured as Pyongyang cut the last channel of communications with the South because war could break out at "any moment".
The move is the latest in a series of bellicose threats from North Korea in response to new U.N. sanctions imposed after its third nuclear test in February and to "hostile" military drills under way joining the United States and South Korea.
The North has already stopped responding to calls on the hotline to the US military that supervises the heavily armed Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and the Red Cross line that has been used by the governments of both sides.
"Under the situation where a war may break out at any moment, there is no need to keep north-south military communications which were laid between the militaries of both sides," the North's KCNA news agency quoted a military spokesman as saying.
"There do not exist any dialogue channel and communications means between the DPRK and the U.S. and between the north and the south."
Despite the shrill rhetoric, few believe North Korea, formally known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), will risk starting a full-out war.
North and South Korea are still technically at war anyway after their 1950-53 civil conflict ended with an armistice, not a treaty, which the North says it has since torn to pieces.
Damien McElroy, Telegraph.co.uk