Seoul: North Korea threatened pre-emptive and “indiscriminate” nuclear strikes against South Korea and the United States yesterday, as the two allies kicked off their annual, large-scale military exercises.
The drills always raise tensions on the divided Korean peninsula and the situation is particularly volatile this year, given the North’s recent nuclear test and long-range rocket launch. Pic/AFP
In a statement issued hours before the drills began, North Korea’s National Defence Commission said it was prepared for an “all-out” military counter-offensive. Describing the exercises as “nuclear war drills” aimed at undermining North Korea’s sovereignty, the statement said the Supreme Command of the Korean People’s Army was ready to launch a “pre-emptive and offensive nuclear strike” in response.
Any strike would not just target operational theatres on the Korean peninsula, but also US bases on the mainland and in the rest of the Asia-Pacific region. “If we push the buttons to annihilate the enemies even right now, all bases of provocations will be reduced to seas in flames and ashes in a moment,” it added.
The National Defence Commission said Kim Jong-Un had ratified plans for what it called a “pre-emptive nuclear strike of justice”. The plans would come into operation in the event of “even the slightest military action” by the North’s enemies, it said.
The drills always raise tensions on the divided Korean peninsula and the situation is particularly volatile this year.