The impoverished dictatorship of North Korea is ignoring U.S. calls to cease ratcheting up tensions today, and has instead issued new threats to kill three American hostages it says are being held in Pyongyang.
In a propaganda video released this morning on the state-run news channel KCTV, North Korea claimed to have kidnapped what it called the three “most popular and revered figures in the western world”: television journalist Anderson Cooper, American Idol winner Phillip Phillips, and actor Nicolas Cage.
The hostages – all appearing in the video to be North Korean soldiers wearing wigs of various colours – were shown being held at gunpoint on three chairs in front of a giant portrait of Eternal President Kim Il-Sung. The video stated that if the United States military did not withdraw all forces from the Korean peninsula by Sunday, the hostages would be executed one by one, starting with Nicolas Cage.
“It would be a sad and infamous day for the U.S. imperialists if they were to cause the death of their most beloved leader” said the video commentary. “No more classic films like National Treasure or Ghost Rider.”
Speaking to the press corps at the White House today, Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that there was nothing to worry about.
“I think it should be fairly obvious to you, as it is to me, that the video is fictitious and North Korea does not have Nicolas Cage” said Carney. “The United States will not be responding in any way to this threat because we do not believe it to be credible.”
Asked if it would make a difference to the White House’s position if the man in the video were the real Nicolas Cage, Carney replied “No, it wouldn’t.”
North Korea’s threats are causing particular concern in South Korea, where Nicolas Cage became a national icon after marrying South Korean woman Alice Kim.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is traveling in South Korea, and said that people there had become very fearful.
“I think a lot of people here aren’t necessarily familiar with what goes on in the United States, and when they hear over the radio that Nicolas Cage is in danger, I mean, I can certainly feel a palpable sense of tension here. At this stage we’re just working on assuring everybody that he’ll be okay.”
KCTV has said it will be continuously broadcasting Nicolas Cage films until Sunday, when it will stop showing them altogether. This, they say, will serve as definitive proof that he has died.