If a new North Korean propaganda video has things right, the world may end with a bang — and also with an elevator music rendition of a popular Michael Jackson song.
Coming amid increased atomic saber-rattling by North Korea and posted on state media website Uriminzokkiri.com last weekend, the video depicts a virtual city draped in the United States flag being attacked by missiles, its skyscrapers on fire and billowing smoke.
“Somewhere in the United States, black clouds of smoke are billowing,” reads a caption in the video, according to Australia’s AAP news agency. “It seems that the nest of wickedness is ablaze.”
As the nest of wickedness that resembles New York City burns via decidedly low-budget computer graphics — reportedly lifted directly from Activision’s “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” video game — the video’s apocalyptic images are accompanied by a tinkly-piano version of “We Are the World,” an uplifting 1985 charity anthem co-written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie that raised millions for African famine relief.
The iconic song also plays throughout the video, which shows a young man dreaming of a rocket launch that results in a crudely animated North Korean space shuttle flying above a jubilant, reunified Korea and the ruined American city.
The shuttle, which appears to be shrouded in glowing pixie dust, is carried into orbit by the same type of rocket the North successfully launched in December.
According to the AAP, the video ends with the young man concluding that his dream “surely will come true” and a proclamation that “despite all kinds of attempts by imperialists to isolate and crush us … never will anyone be able to stop the people marching toward a final victory.”
North Korea has a long history of colorful and bizarre propaganda, including claims that a snowstorm halted and the sky glowed red over a sacred mountain when President Kim Jong-il died; that Kim Jong-il once scored 11 holes-in-one during a single round of golf; and that state archaeologists last year discovered the lair of a unicorn ridden by an ancient Korean king.
After the U.N. Security Council tightened sanctions against North Korea last month as punishment for December’s long-range rocket launch, the North announced it would expand its nuclear program “both quantitatively and qualitatively” and conduct a new nuclear test at a “higher level.”
South Korea’s U.N. ambassador said Monday that a North Korean nuclear test “seems to be imminent.” Analysts have speculated that it could come as soon as Feb. 16, the anniversary of former leader Kim Jong-il’s birth.
The North staged nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009 after being condemned for rocket launches and currently is banned by U.N. resolutions from developing or testing missile or nuclear technology.