North Korean army says it has final approval for nuclear attack on the US, the official KCNA news agency says. This comes shortly after the Pentagon said the US military prepares to deploy an advanced missile-defense system to Guam.
“Merciless operation of its revolutionary armed forces in this regard has been finally examined and ratified,” said a spokesman for the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army, according to the statement released by the state KCNA news agency.
“We formally inform the White House and Pentagon that the ever-escalating US hostile policy toward the DPRK and its reckless nuclear threat will be smashed by the strong will of all the united service personnel and people.”
The White House has responded by urging Pyongyang to stop making threats, describing the statement as “provocative.”
“We’ve seen today’s statement by North Korea, again making unhelpful and unconstructive threats,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden. “It is yet another offering in a long line of provocative statements that only serve to further isolate North Korea from the rest of the international community and undermine its goal of economic development.”
This comes after Pentagon said the US military prepares to deploy an advanced missile-defense system to Guam to defend American military bases in the Pacific as a ”
precaution ” following North Korea threats.
The DoD has announced that top defense officials approved the deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System, or THAAD, which includes a truck-mounted launcher, interceptor missiles, a AN/TPY-2 tracking radar and an integrated fire control system, Reuters reports.
“The United States remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations and stands ready to defend US territory, our allies, and our national interests,” a Pentagon spokeswoman said.
It has been stressed that the future deployment of the system is for protecting American interests in the region and will not reach South Korea’s territory.
The Pentagon said the batteries, which according to advocates will cost up to $800 million per battery, will be deployed in the coming weeks; however, no exact date was given, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The Pentagon initially considered the deployment of the first of the batteries in 2015, however, recently escalated tensions and threats from North Korea have influenced the plans, forcing the Defense Department to rethink its intentions.
The United States sees a “real and clear” danger from North Korea, given its nuclear and missile capabilities and bellicose rhetoric, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said earlier Wednesday, shortly before the Pentagon’s statement.
North Korea has recently threatened to target US and South Korea following new UN sanctions and joint military drills by the two allies.
Guam has become the most important US military base in Asia, housing its major airfield and an incoming contingent of US Marines.
Seoul-based correspondent Joseph Kim says the US pursues its own interests when getting more involved in the conflict. It “continuously monitor[s] and gain[s] more influence in the region.”
“They are technically trying to get back to East Asia to be able to counter China and its growing power in terms of the economy. And why not use North Korea?” Kim told RT.
As for the means the US chooses to achieve its ends, there are questions remaining as to the efficacy. Investigative journalist Tim Shorrock believes that North Korea’s actions are being misconstrued and that the American response to them is unbalanced and achieves the opposite result: “North Korea does not want to commit suicide. I believe [it] is doing all this so it can get to a point where it can negotiate some kind of peace agreement with the United States”, he said. “They look up and they see these B-2 bombers and that’s an absolute reminder of danger of war with the United States, but it also gives the monolithic authoritarian state the [opportunity] to show to the North Korean people that indeed there is a threat. So, by escalating it to this point, the United States is playing right into Kim Jong-un’s hands.”
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