News / Asia

    Fresh North Korean Threat to Attack America, South Korea

    North Korean soldiers march in front of flower waving civilians during a mass military parade in Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square. (File)
    North Korean soldiers march in front of flower waving civilians during a mass military parade in Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square. (File)
    North Korea says it has put its rocket units on the highest combat readiness level. The announcement includes fresh threats to strike U.S. military bases and South Korea.

    The official North Korean news agency and state radio Tuesday afternoon carried the latest announcement from the army's supreme command that all field artillery units, including those armed with strategic rockets and long-range artillery, are now at the top level of "combat-ready posture."
     
    The announcer reading the military's statement on the central broadcasting station in Pyongyang declared the units "will target all enemy objects in U.S. offensive bases on its mainland, Hawaii and Guam."
     
    The targets, according to the broadcast, also include South Korea, with the warning that at first shot "everything will be blown away and turned to ash."
     
    South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense says this is the first time Pyongyang's military has ever publicly referred to an “il-ho” – or number one – combat readiness alert.
     
    It is the latest in an escalating round of bellicose rhetoric from the North, which has included a threat to conduct a preemptive nuclear strike on the United States.
     
    The command issued to the rocket units comes days after the U.S. air force flew B-52 sorties over the peninsula as part of an annual joint drill with South Korean forces. And it comes just hours after South Korean President Park Geun-hye said it is time for North Korea to change for its own sake.
     
    The president, speaking at the national cemetery in Daejeon, says "the only way North Korea will survive is if it voluntarily lays down its nuclear weapons, missiles, provocations and threats, and transforms into a responsible member of the international community."
     
    The speech was part of a memorial marking the March 26, 2010 sinking of a South Korean coastal warship that killed 46 sailors.
     
    South Korea and others who joined a multinational investigation into the explosion on the Cheonan in the Yellow Sea concluded the ship was hit by a North Korean torpedo. Pyongyang has denied carrying out the attack.

    Related video report by Jeff Custer
    N. Korea Threatens Attacks on Guam, Hawaii, US Mainlandi
    X
    March 26, 2013 5:19 PM
    North Korea has issued fresh threats against the United States, this time warning it could fire rockets on Guam, Hawaii and the U.S. mainland in retaliation for American bomber sorties. The new threats followed a speech by the president of South Korea. Jeff Custer reports.
    In a letter to soldiers marking the anniversary of the Cheonan's sinking, Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin requested the military stay on high alert so it can immediately retaliate should there be another North Korean attack.
     
    As the solemn observance was taking place in the South, military maneuvers were apparently underway in the North. But there has been no indication any attack is imminent.
     
    Wee Yong-sub is a spokesman for South Korea's Ministry of National Defense.
     
    Wee says there appears to be a state-level military drill underway with amphibious landings and counter-landing operations conducted by North Korea's navy and army.
     
    A three-year war fought by the two Koreas in the early 1950's ended in a stalemate. A peace treaty was never signed.
     
    Two weeks ago, Pyongyang declared the 1953 war truce invalid. The U.S.-led U.N. command says the document remains in effect and that no one party to the armistice can abrogate it.
    • Soldiers of the Korean People's Army take part in the landing and anti-landing drills of KPA Large Combined Units 324 and 287 and KPA Navy Combined Unit 597 in the east coastal area in North Korea, March 25, 2013.
    • A North Korean soldier attends military training in an undisclosed location in this picture released by the North's official KCNA news agency, March 19, 2013.
    • North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un talks with generals as soldiers of the Korean People's Army take part in landing and anti-landing drills in eastern North Korea, March 25, 2013.
    • The North Korean shore as seen from South Korean island of Yeongpyeong.
    • North Korean soldiers attend military training in an undisclosed location in this picture released by the North's official KCNA news agency, March 19, 2013.
    • North Korea's artillery sub-units, whose mission is to strike Daeyeonpyeong island and Baengnyeong island of South Korea, conduct a live shell firing drill to examine war fighting capabilities in the western sector of the front line, March 14, 2013.
    • The air force and air defense artillery units of of the Korean People's Army conducts a drill of drone planes assaulting targets in a picture released by the North's official KCNA news agency, March 20, 2013.
    • Members of the United Nations Security Council vote to tighten sanctions on North Korea at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, March 7, 2013.
    • April 8, 2012: A soldier stands guard in front of the Unha-3 rocket sitting on a launch pad at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site, northwest of Pyongyang, North Korea.
    • North Koreans celebrate the successful launch of the Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket at Kim Il Sung square in Pyongyang December 14, 2012. The sign reads: "Let's glorify dignity and honor of great people of Kim Il Sung and of Korea of Kim Jong Il in the world
    • Comparison of the UNHA-2 and UNHA-3 rocket flight paths

    Steve Herman

    Steve Herman is VOA's Senior Diplomatic Correspondent, based at the State Department.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Kafantaris from: USA, Ohio
    March 27, 2013 5:32 AM
    Aside from Iran, no country can shoot itself better in the foot than North Korea. There must be something in the water over there.

    by: Haron from: Afghanistan
    March 26, 2013 1:34 PM
    I think North Korea does not need to give alert for their soldiers to be ready for any treat. because everything is possible from satellite where they have prepared rocket to damage white house in Washington D,C and New York's Skyscrapers. no-doubt that South Korea will be damage more than Afghanistan. if USA want to be a partial for South Korea then Russia and China will being partial to North Korea due to Communists Policy and alliance.
    In Response

    by: Green Line from: USA
    March 27, 2013 1:23 PM
    Haron from Afghanistan, have you been reading anything on this? Or are you capable of reading? As of this writing, North Korea can't even reach Hawaii with weapons, and they can't reach Seattle, so how in the world do you figure they can reach DC or NYC that sits on the other side of the country? And as far as satellites, the US has the most advanced in the world. Don't undermine US technology. Even the computer you used to write about your garbage is from technology that was developed in the United States.

    And you think China or Russia will support North Korea? China just sided with the US on applying more sanctions on NK. By the way things are escalating, at this time China or Russia would not want their relationship with the US to dwindle to zero because they supported a rogue nation that threatens everyone and doesn't even try to feed its own people. And if you're such a fan of North Korea, maybe you should read about Camp 14.
    In Response

    by: MLJ from: USA
    March 26, 2013 2:58 PM
    N/K doesn't need to target DC & NY. We should be watching any activity from our south. Cuba has been too quite over this.

    by: Hovhannes from: Montevideo
    March 26, 2013 11:01 AM
    North Korea's Kim Jon Un, a spoiled brat exhibiting behavioral problems from overindulgence by his dad, is asking for a very good spanking.
    In Response

    by: Jon from: USA
    March 26, 2013 1:15 PM
    Seriously. I wish he would JUST SHUT UP and pull the trigger. Enough talk! Let's see some action. I feel if we can take him and his regime out, we can finally free those poor people under his tyranny.

    by: Muhammad s usman from: Nigeria
    March 26, 2013 8:47 AM
    N/K military stay on high alert that's Nice

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