The North Korean regime has threatened to execute two South Korean journalists and presidents of two conservative publications for a book review carried by them. Pyongyang's Central Court said all four of them would be executed and no appeal against the decision would be allowed.
The two journalists, working with South Korea-based Chosen Ilbo and Dong-A Ilbo, wrote a review about the book, Capitalist People's Republic of Korea. The book was written by two British journalists in 2015 and the North has not made any comment on them so far.
On Thursday, 31 August, the North Korean court had said via the statement carried by the regime's mouthpiece Korean Central News Agency that the two South Korean journalists will face execution for insulting Pyongyang's supreme leadership.
"The criminals hold no right to appeal and the execution will be carried out any moment and at any place without going through any additional procedures as soon as the objects are confirmed," said a court's spokesman. The North said it will "track down to the end and cut off the dirty windpipes" of all those responsible for such provocative acts, referring to the presidents of the two newspapers.
"They have reached the state of slandering and insulting even the inviolable name of our country and its national emblem," added the state-run daily.
The book in question was authored by Daniel Tudor, a former journalist with the Economist, and Reuters correspondent James Pearson.
This is not the first time the hermit kingdom has issued extreme threats against nationals of other countries, especially against South Koreans. In the past, Pyongyang went to the extent of threatening to execute former president and spy chief of South Korea.
Responding to the latest warning, South Korean unification ministry released a strong condemnation calling on the rival Korea to tone down the rhetoric.
"North Korea's threats in response to journalists' ordinary acts of reporting constitutes a serious violation of freedom of the press and an intervention in the South's affairs. This does not help an improvement in inter-Korean ties at all. We sternly warn that North Korea should end its threat to our nationals. The government will take necessary measures to guarantee the safety of South Korean nationals," said the South Korean ministry.