Kim Jong Un raised the level of rhetoric against the United States this weekend, promising a “merciless” nuclear strike against the United States, while at the same time blaming American President Donald Trump for inflaming the situation.
The new threats come as both U.S. and South Korean military are set to stage a series of joint exercises in the region. While the American military characterizes the exercises as routine activity between allies, it is also meant to send a clear message to Kim Jong Un and Pyongyang.
Kim Jon Un’s saber-rattling was largely dismissed during the Obama era, although Barack Obama himself did state last year that the United States could “obviously destroy North Korea” with its nuclear arsenal.
As President Trump took office, however, tensions with North Korea escalated when the country showed major advancements in intercontinental ballistic missile technology, far ahead of what they had achieved previously. While North Korea claims it can now strike the U.S. continental heartland, as well as Washington, D.C., many believe that is a lie. However, U.S. intelligence reports state North Korea is able to strike Japan or even the American protectorate of Guam, and is capable of placing a miniaturized nuclear warhead inside of a missile.
According to a report on North Korean state media, Kim Jong-Un said he wanted to “watch a little more the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees,” before deciding to launch a nuclear attack. They claim no target anywhere in the U.S. can “dodge the merciless strike” they threatened.
Today’s warning came a day ahead of the ten-day Ulchi Freedom Guardian military, a joint exercise with the US and South Korea.
‘The Trump group’s declaration of the reckless nuclear war exercises against the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) …. is a reckless behavior driving the situation into the uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war,’ the state media reported, according to CNN.
‘The Korean People’s Army is keeping a high alert, fully ready to contain the enemies. It will take resolute steps the moment even a slight sign of the preventive war is spotted,’ it said.
President Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have all refused to rule out military intervention in North Korea.
North Korea also blasted America’s plans to conduct joint exercises with South Korea, a sure sign the country is concerned about the willingness of the two countries to coordinate a potential military response.
Amid the fiery volley of threats, Seoul and Washington will begin Monday the ‘Ulchi Freedom Guardian’ (UFG) joint military exercises involving tens of thousands of troops that Pyongyang views as a highly provocative rehearsal for invasion.
‘The joint exercise is the most explicit expression of hostility against us, and no one can guarantee that the exercise won’t evolve into actual fighting,’ said an editorial carried by the North’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper.
‘The Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint military exercises will be like pouring gasoline on fire and worsen the state of the peninsula,’ the paper said.
Warning of an ‘uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war’ on the peninsula, it added: ‘If the United States is lost in a fantasy that war on the peninsula is at somebody else’s doorstep far away from them across the Pacific, it is far more mistaken than ever.’