North Korea has again threatened a nuclear strike against the U.S. in reaction to ongoing joint military drills involving American and South Korean militaries on the peninsula.
An article carried by the state-controlled news agency KCNA warned the U.S. would face an “unimaginable” strike in retaliation for carrying out naval drills involving the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and for “creating tension on the eve of war” by conducting civilian evacuation drills in South Korea this weekend.
“The U.S. is running amok by introducing under our nose the targets we have set as primary ones. The U.S. should expect that it would face unimaginable strike at an unimaginable time," KCNA stated Thursday, as reported by the South Korean news agency Yonhap.
The wording of the threat mimics previous statements from U.S. military officials such as Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joe Dunford who said it was "not unimaginable" to have military options on the Korean peninsula. As recently as this week Admiral Harry Harris, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, said at a forum in Singapore that his job was to "imagine the unimaginable."
Tensions on the Korean peninsula have risen over North Korea’s continuous development and testing of nuclear weapons, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.
The international community, including U.N. Security Council permanent members Russia and China, have sided with the U.S. in strongly condemning Pyongyang and imposed harsh sanctions on the country in an attempt to cut funding for its nuclear program. European Union leaders are demanding the country end the weapons development program, as Reuters reported Thursday, despite North Korea’s repeated claim that it is developing a nuclear deterrent in self-defense.
North Korea's deputy U.N. ambassador made similar remarks at a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly on disarmament, describing the situation on the peninsula as having reached a point when "a nuclear war may break out at any moment."
As for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, he was focusing on a sector of the country’s economy that has little to do with missiles. He visited a shoe factory in an increasingly rare public appearance that does not involve military-related activities, along with his wife Ri Sol Ju and other high-ranking members of the Workers’ Party of Korea, including his sister Kim Yo Jong.