On Thursday morning, officials with the North Korean military made new threats against the United States military bases in Japan and Guam as a possible response to joint military drills being held with South Korea. America’s nuclear-armed B-52 bombers are making flights as part of the operations, which Pyongyang has stated is an “unpardonable provocation” and warrants military action.
The U.S. Pentagon has confirmed that B-52s departed from the Andersen Air Force base in Guam and had already arrived in South Korea. The Pyongyang government insists the yearly exercises with South Korea are rehearsals for military attacks and invasions. They view that the U.S. is carrying out drills for a nuclear strike, with North Korea as the target, and aims to advertise its weaponry as a warning message to the secluded nation. A statement in Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency from a supreme army spokesman said, “The U.S. should not forget that the Anderson base… as well as naval bases at Japan’s main island and Okinawa, are all within the range of our precision target assets.”
While North Korea’s threats against the U.S. bases in Japan in Guam should certainly set off alarms, Pyongyang’s observation about the U.S. showing off its military might as a warning does ring fairly true. The B-52s have been used before in the South Korea-U.S. drills, but this time the Pentagon publicized their presence in order to highlight the U.S.’s commitment to defending its South Korean ally, or, in other words, its ability to strike at the North. The North Korean spokesman’s warning concluded with the statement that they would move on to “corresponding military actions” as the U.S. has made it clear it intends to use “naked nuclear blackmail,” referring to America’s support for new U.N. sanctions.[via AFP]