North Korea has threatened to launch a preemptive nuclear strike against the United States on Saturday as they accused the western superpower of readying an invasion against the communist state.
The official state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) warned: "The US attempt to invade the DPRK is getting ever more reckless."
"[We are] ready to deal a merciless and annihilating blow to the enemy if they make even the slightest provocation."
This latest threat comes on the heels of the US deployment of three B-2 stealth bombers in Guam, a reaction to continued missile tests conducted in the region by North Korea.
The communist country, which has a stockpile of over 1,000 ballistic missiles, countered that it would protect its borders and respond to any intrusion with nuclear force.
"The DPRK's revolutionary armed forces switched from their existing mode of military counter-action to the mode of a preemptive strike to cope with the enemy's ridiculous military hysteria to undermine its sovereignty and right to existence. All their operational groups are fully ready to deal a merciless and annihilating blow to the enemy if they make even the slightest provocation," KCNA reported.
A decade ago, North Korea announced to the world that is had successfully conducted its first nuclear detonation. Since Oct. 9, 2006, the communist regime claims to have completed three more nuclear tests, concluding with a reported underground hydrogen bomb detonation in January of this year.
Nuclear weapons without a delivery system capable of carrying the payload to its target are not very threatening. To this end, North Korea has been conducting routine and everso concerning missile tests; 27 launches in just over four years.
Many have been considered failures, but more recently, successful intermediate-range missile launches have been reported.
Earlier this year, amid widespread international condemnation, North Korea went ahead with its plans to launch a satellite into orbit, an action many claim was a thinly veiled attempt at testing their Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) technology.
The missile platform, if successful, could deliver a nuclear warhead to American soil.
Japan warned against the launch, citing that if the rocket intrudes into the island nation’s airspace, it would be shot down. After the reported successful launch, Japan imposed tighter sanctions on the North Korean regime.
This did not dissuade North Korea’s ballistic ambitions, as the communist country launched two Musudan missiles from their eastern coast in April. One only flew 150 km and was considered a failure, but the other was tracked for 400km before falling into the sea of Japan, proving at least in theory, North Korea easily has the ability to target and deliver payloads to its closest neighbours.
'The right to make a preemptive nuclear strike is not the monopoly of the US."
Last week, Japan ordered its military to be ready at any time to shoot down any North Korean missiles that threaten to strike Japan, putting its forces on a state of alert for at least three months, a defense ministry official and media said.
The former US Ambassador to South Korea, Christopher Hill, shed light on the ambitions of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in an interview with CNN.
“[He] is interested in being the leader of North Korea who has been able to create a deliverable nuclear weapon,” he said.
With the state run news agency threatening that their country may take the initiative and strike first, the international community is watching the situation closely.
"To make a preemptive nuclear strike is not the monopoly of the US," the KCNA said, deepening fears that the ever more capable leader may give the order to strike soon.