News / Asia

N. Korea Threatens 'Pre-Emptive Nuclear Attack'

North Korea missile ranges
North Korea missile ranges
For the first time, North Korea is threatening to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike.  This is the latest in an increasing series of bellicose rhetoric from Pyongyang in recent days.

The threat, attributed to a spokesman from North Korea's foreign ministry, was carried by the country's central news agency and also broadcast Thursday.

The ministry spokesman is quoted as saying that because "the United States is about to ignite a nuclear war, our revolutionary armed forces will be exercising our right to pre-emptive nuclear attack against the strongholds of invaders in order to protect our supreme interest.”

North Korean Nuclear Tests

2006
  • Carried out underground at Punggye-ri
  • Powered by plutonium
  • Released radioactive materials

2009
  • Carried out underground at Punggye-ri
  • Seismic signals were consistent with a nuclear test
  • Radioactive material was not detected

2013
  • Carried out underground at Punggye-ri
  • Seismic signals were consistent with a nuclear test
  • Estimated to be more powerful than devices tested earlier
Earlier in the week, a four-star general went on television to announce North Korea next Monday would abrogate the 1953 armistice, which halted the three-year devastating Korean civil war.

​North Korea has made no secret it is incensed about fresh sanctions against it by the U.N. Security Council.  It is also expressing strong displeasure with annual military drills under way involving American and South Korean forces.

The North claims the joint exercises are a pretext to a nuclear attack by the United States.

The commander of U.S. forces in South Korea, General James Thurman, issued a statement expressing concern about Pyongyang's threat to cancel the cease-fire agreement.  He noted [that] as leader of the U.N. Command on the peninsula he is "charged to fully enforce the conditions of the armistice."

The cease-fire document was signed by military commanders from China and North Korea on one side and the U.S.-led U.N. Command on behalf of the international community.  South Korea was not a signatory.

The two Koreas have since remain divided, no peace treaty was ever written and thus Seoul and Pyongyang never established diplomatic relations.

The United States maintains more than 28,000 military personnel in South Korea.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sham from: USA
March 07, 2013 11:53 AM
The Rockefeller family will LOVE to go into this war, so they can profit from the American public by borrowing money with INTEREST from their FRAUDULENT, EVIL, PRIVATE, organization they call the "Federal Reserve Bank".

by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
March 07, 2013 11:24 AM
I hope the US and allies are going through their defensive drills and civil defense drills, especially at bases in areas under the range of NKorean fielded missile systems.
The escalation in the war of wars between N/S Korea, is not healthy. If SKorea wants to push it to the next level, then it should pick the time and place, having the element of surprise on its side; in any case word escalation is absolutely not constructive; all it does is push NKorea into a corner. US and Allies need to calm its ally, irrespective what the intentions are.

by: Lei from: China
March 07, 2013 11:17 AM
China and russia obviously don't N.K. nuclear test and cancel cease-fire document, so this sanction can be passed on U.N.

by: NVO from: USA
March 07, 2013 9:36 AM
All their so-called rocket attempts have been FAILURES. They cannot even get anything into the air. What a joke. Just another ploy by the Federal Reserve Bank to send us to war. Wake up, world. The Fed wants us in war so we borrow more money at INTEREST for their profit.

by: Michael from: USA
March 07, 2013 8:08 AM
New sanctions are strong but aren't meant to provoke such strong responses. The threats are timed with United Nation votes and the level of poverty increases with new sanctions, so the votes are deliberate because the U.N knows that provocation acts to open the isolated N Korea. Those who think sanctions will stop all nuclear tests are few. The USA will rightly bring these facts to the U.N since this might help to open N Korea in a different way (other than provocation)

by: david lulasa from: tambua,gimarakwa,hamisi,v
March 07, 2013 6:22 AM
when such things,the world obviously expects something positive from russia and china..and if not,then its china and russia who are hoping that israel actually got to be removed from the map by like minded people in iran and north korea.


lulasa

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More