You are trying to hard to find exact equivalency.
I'm not trying to do that at all. I did call them despicable...
I'm just trying to look at things from their point of view, and I'm citing their original statements as well as the ways in which we distort their statements. Why can't I look at things objectively without being a sympathiser of the North? I'd rather understand their way of thinking, than just jump on the let's-make-personal-attacks-against-their-figureheads-and-all-be-afraid bandwagon.
Again, what we're calling a direct threat of a nuclear attack against the US, is not worded as such in the original statement (please, go read the source). They write about the US nuclear bombing rehearsal in the past tense, and then use this "provocation" in order to justify their current increase in defensive rigour (which we call "provocation") and in the section that promises (to their own people) that counter attacks are guaranteed, they also remind their people that they have the capability of a pre-emptive strike (just like the US does). If you read the original article (it's basically a 3 piece essay), it's in no way "out of the blue".
It is a huge distortion for us to twist this into a direct nuclear threat -- just as when an American news station reminds US viewers that they've got nuclear pre-emptive strike capabilities and reserve the right to use them defensively, it's a huge distortion to print the headlines "OBAMA THREATENS NUKES".
Then there are the basic differences between North and South.
Yeah, they're baddies and we're goodies. I don't care. That's not the point. We're all baddies on the other side of the fence. It doesn't make it ok to play dirty just because the other guy is a jerk. We're supposed to be the honourable free world, but unfair cheap propaganda and obvious double standards still aren't below us...
that one time in the 60's someone sent a group of commandos to assasinate the President of South Korea in his home. And I almost forgot about Korea Air Flight 858.
Really? You're going to use cases of state-sponsored terrorism and secret assassinations of elected leaders to try and differentiate the US from the bad guys? Surely you're joking?
you have the fact of the Yeonpyeong island bombardment and the sinking of the Cheonean, as well as things like tunnels under the DMZ sized for tanks coming from the north
Like I said, I'm not making excuses for any of these or taking their side... but they deny that they were responsible for Cheonean at all (which leaves the implication that someone's framed them for it), and they claim that Yeonpyeong island attack them, and they fired back.
It's extremely unlikely, but there is always the slim possibility that their accounts are true. Some of the Cheonean investigators claimed that it was more likely to be an accidentally fired US torpedo, and the US has deliberately sunk it's own ships or made up stories of ship attacks before in order to do damage to their enemies, so as much as we'd like to, we can't blame the North with 100% confidence.
plus which side announced the cancellation of the Armistice?
As I mentioned earlier, every time the US brings weapons into the south, such as for these annual exercises, they're breaking the rules that they themselves set out in the Armistice. Why wouldn't you rip it up if your enemies were routinely breaking it without punishment, but you get punished every time you break it yourself? Their opinion is that it's being used against them aggressively, and the 3-part article I mentioned above has a long explanation for why they think they should rip it up (which of course, we don't print -- we just print the bit about
hypothetical defensive strikes, and counter-attacks)...
The nation of Korea was already divided before WWII. Splitting it in two insured that neither party would have control over the entire country. if it wasn't for the U.S., the entire nation would be under communist control right now.
According to my history books, the Japanese controlled the whole area before WW2, and Allied (soviet) forces took the north, with the plan being that Allied (USA) forces would take the south. During the cold war, the US and the communists pushed back and forth ended up with about the same border as the post-WW2 one.
Maybe it would've been better if the USSR had taken over the whole country -- maybe when they collapsed, all of korea would've been liberated like east Germany was ;-)
If it wasn't for the Allies, it would still be under Japanese control, and would probably be free of dictatorships and starvation.
Also, being afraid of communists went out of fashion a few decades ago. There aren't any real communist countries. Even when the US lost the war to stop Communism in Vietnam, they retreated and achieved their goal by forcing capitalism onto the country...