North Korea put its rocket units on standby Friday to attack U.S. military bases in South Korea and the Pacific, after repeated threats and one day after two American stealth bombers flew over the Korean Peninsula in a military exercise.
A U.S. official warned that the isolated communist state is “not a paper tiger” and its reaction should not be dismissed as “pure bluster.”
According to the North Korea’s official KCNA news agency, the country’s leader Kim Jong Un “judged the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the prevailing situation” at a midnight meeting of top generals.
The latest threat comes one day after two nuclear-capable stealth bombers flew from Missouri to drop inert munitions on a range in South Korea as part of a major military exercise.
Kim Jong Un, seen at what was described as an urgent meeting overnight, has ordered his rocket forces to be on standby to strike U.S. and South Korean targets at any time.
The U.S. official emphasized the danger posed by North Korea’s military and the unpredictable nature of its 30-year-old leader.
“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 the official, who asked not to be named. “His inexperience is certain — his wisdom is still very much in question.”
There was a mass demonstration in support of Kim involving tens of thousands of people in the main square of North Korean capital Pyongyang Friday.
Placards read “Let’s crush the puppet traitor group” and “Let’s rip the puppet traitors to death!”