The government of North Korea formally revealed on Thursday that it had given its military approval to carry out a nuclear attack on the United States, the latest threat from the hermit nation following America’s, and the international community’s, warnings for Pyongyang to back down from weapons development. The North’s supreme military command stated that The White House and Pentagon had been informed of the approval, and warned that “The moment of explosion is approaching fast,” with war possibly breaking out “today or tomorrow.”
Japan’s Asahi newspaper has reported that a new KN08 Musudan missile has been seen being transported in North Korea towards the Sea of Japan. While the weapon is still in development, it’s unknown at this point if it could reach the U.S. mainland. It is believed to have enough range to hit Guam, where a number of U.S. bases are located, which, along with those in Japan, were specifically mentioned as targets for attack in recent weeks. A professor of international security in Australia, Alan Dupont, has said that North Korea only has a “rudimentary” ballistic missile system, and that its capabilities are based more on pretense than substance. He adds that a missile from the country might be able to hit northern Australia if it’s lucky, but it wouldn’t be able to hit a specific target, nor carry a nuclear warhead.
The North Korean attack announcement came shortly after the U.S. said it was deploying missile defense systems on the Pacific island of Guam, as well as positioning a warship off the Korean peninsula in order to potentially respond to escalating tensions. However, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has yet to make any kind of statement on the crisis, instead letting military authorities do all the talking.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has said that the threats from Pyongyang present a “real and clear danger,” as he believes the North would launch a “merciless” attack on America, possibly using “cutting-edge” nuclear weapons. Hagel’s claims seem more than likely exaggerated, as a number of international analysts believe North Korea doesn’t have the technology capable of firing a missile that could hit the mainland U.S. And even if they did choose to use a weapon in the Pacific region, the U.S., along with allies Japan and South Korea, have more than enough defense systems to shoot down a missile before it became a serious threat.
[via News AU]