Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States would defend itself and its allies amid what he called “provocative, dangerous and reckless” threats by North Korean leader Kim Jung Un.
SEOUL: North Korea dramatically escalated its warlike rhetoric Thursday, warning that it had authorized plans for nuclear strikes on targets in the United States.
“The moment of explosion is approaching fast,” the North Korean military said, warning that war could break out “today or tomorrow.”
Pyongyang’s latest pronouncement came as Washington scrambled to reinforce its Pacific missile defenses, preparing to send ground-based interceptors to Guam and dispatching two Aegis class destroyers to the region.
Tension was also high on the North’s heavily fortified border with South Korea, after it barred South Koreans from entering a joint industrial park on its side of the frontier.
In a statement published by the state KCNA news agency, the Korean People’s Army warned Washington that U.S. threats would be “smashed by … cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means.”
“The merciless operation of our revolutionary armed forces in this regard has been finally examined and ratified,” the statement said.
The Pentagon said that it would deploy a missile defense system to the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden told LIGNET this week that the possibility of North Korea launching a nuclear attack is “somewhere between extremely remote and zero,” but that he believes the current situation with the North is extremely dangerous and is becoming more so by the year. The cycle of threats by North Korea followed by promises of aid must be broken, he said.In this exclusive interview, General Hayden talks about the strategy behind North Korea’s belligerent rhetoric and provides his assessment of whether the Kim Jong Un regime is really intent on conducting an attack.“I think unfortunately, because we’ve acted with tremendous restraint over the past quarter century, we’ve simply taught the North Koreans that they can do these kinds of things with impunity. And now I think we are very much on the edge,” said Hayden in a sit-down interview with LIGNET director Fred Fleitz.Michael Hayden was the 2oth director of the Central Intelligence Agency, serving from May of 2006 to February of 2009. He was head of the National Security Agency from 1999-2005 and served for almost 39 years in the U.S. Air Force, including two tours in Korea, retiring with the rank of four-star general in 2008. He now works as a consultant with the Chertoff Group and serves on LIGNET’s advisory board.