North Korea said it will put its rockets on standby for a potential attack on American and South Korean interests in the region, said state-run media.
Leader Kim Jong Un “has judged the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the prevailing situation,” state-run KCNA was quoted by CNN as saying.
“If they make a reckless provocation with huge strategic forces, [we] should mercilessly strike the U.S. mainland, their stronghold, their military bases in the operational theaters in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in South Korea,” it added.
James Hardy, Asia-Pacific editor of IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly, wrote in an editorial for CNN that North Korea might not have the capability to carry out a strike,
“The fact is that despite the bombast, and unless there has been a miraculous turnaround among North Korea’s strategic forces, there is little to no chance that it could successfully land a missile on Guam, Hawaii or anywhere else outside the Korean Peninsula that U.S. forces may be stationed,” he said.
After the threat was issued, the U.S. criticized the move, saying that it would serve to isolate the country even more from the rest of the world.
This week, the U.S. flew two B-2 stealth bombers to South Korea–the first time American stealth bombers were sent to the country. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel stressed they were not sent there to provoke Pyongyang.
And some analysts said that North Korea’s latest vitriol against the U.S. were just empty threats, but an American official warned that they are “not a paper tiger” and should not be taken as “pure bluster,” reported NBC News.
“North Korea is not a paper tiger so it wouldn’t be smart to dismiss its provocative behavior as pure bluster. What’s not clear right now is how much risk Kim Jong Un is willing to run to show the world and domestic elites that he’s a tough guy,” said an official, who declined to be named.
The official added: “His inexperience is certain — his wisdom is still very much in question.”