Over the past 10 years, despite numerous sanctions from the United Nations, North Korea has pressed on stoically with its nuclear program. The Far East nation’s first missile test was conducted in 1993, and there have been five more since; most recently at last weekend’s Day of the Sun celebrations, which marks the 105th anniversary of the late Kim Il-sung’s birth, who established North Korea back in 1948.
In the past few weeks, tensions have risen between North Korea and the United States. President Donald Trump dispatched the USS Carl Vinson to the West Pacific last week, with the North Korean administration promising a retaliation. Now, North Korea have threatened the United States with a “super mighty preemptive strike”.
While in the past, most attempts to convince North Korea to commence nuclear disarmament have revolved around sanctions and strategic persuasion rather than displays of might, Donald Trump has taken a more hardline stance during his time as President. His initial deployment of the USS Carl Vinson was in response to learning that North Korea would be planning a nuclear test on 15 April, and Vice-President Mike Pence warned that “the era of strategic patience is over”.
Now, Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the Worker’s Party who govern North Korea, have fired back a response that is difficult to misinterpret, announcing their intention to obliterate the United States of America, as well as their neighbours South Korea.
“In the case of our super-mighty preemptive strike being launched, it will completely and immediately wipe out not only U.S. imperialists’ invasion forces in South Korea and its surrounding areas but the U.S. mainland and reduce them to ashes.”
South Korea have something to say, however, about the possibility of conflict. South Korea’s acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn, says that military and security forces must remain vigilant, and South Korean pilot Colonel Lee Bum-chul said that his country will do their utmost to prevent war from breaking out.
“We are conducting a practical and more intensive exercise than ever. Through this exercise, I am sure we can deter war and remove our enemy’s intention to provoke us.”
Throughout the nuclear tests, which have seen opposition from the United States among other world powers, China has remained allies with North Korea, despite admonishing the state for its proliferation of nuclear weapons. A spokesman from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Lu Kang, said that a united front is essential for the security of the region: “Speaking with one voice is extremely important to the Security Council appropriately responding to the relevant issue on the peninsula”.
Meanwhile, Chinese media responded to the news that the USS Carl Vinson appeared to be heading in the wrong direction earlier this week, moving away from Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. The US military’s Pacific Command explained that the aircraft carriers first had to complete a training exercise in Australia, but the Global Times newspaper thinks this was an attempt by the Trump administration to save face.
“The truth seems to be that the U.S. military and president jointly created fake news and it is without doubt a rare scandal in U.S. history, which will be bound to cripple Trump’s and U.S. dignity.”
North Korea regularly threatens to destroy South Korea; technically, the two nations are still at war, after the conflict in 1953 ended with a truce rather than a peace treaty. While promises of attack from North Korea are quite frequent, this particular warning carries a not insignificant level of threat.