North Korea again blamed the United States for the increasing tensions on the Korean peninsula due to its joint military drills with South Korea, in a statement Wednesday. Meanwhile, according to CNN, Pyongyang may be preparing to launch a mobile ballistic missile for the first time that could reach the U.S.
The Kim Jong Un regime has condemned the joint military drills between Washington and Seoul several times since they first began in March, and has even threatened to attack the countries over the issue.
North Korea’s state-run news agency KCNA said that the drills were challenging Pyongyang’s dignity and they were an “open declaration of war.” The report added that the drills were harassing the peace and security on the Korean peninsula and that they were a part of Washington’s strategy to dominate Asia. The report also defended North Korea’s developments of nuclear weapons and said that it was a “measure for self-defense” against the U.S.
Pyongyang had conducted its fourth nuclear test in January and a rocket launch in February, which was viewed as a cover to test its long-range ballistic missiles. Kim has also called for more nuclear weapons while the United Nations has slapped harsh sanctions against the country due to its nuclear advancements. Pyongyang has maintained that the nuclear access is just for its defense.
“The U.S. is the arch criminal that compelled the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) to have access to nuclear weapons and bolster them up,” the KCNA report said Wednesday, adding: “The DPRK's nuclear weapons are symbolic of justice and peace.”
The KCNA report also threatened to attack the U.S. and South Korea over the drills. “If the US-south Korea joint war drills targeting the supreme leadership of the DPRK show any slight sign of going over into an actual war, the DPRK will launch a merciless preemptive nuclear attack to reduce the enemy bases to ashes,” the report said, adding: “The DPRK will no longer tolerate the reckless nuclear war drills of the US and the south Korean puppet group.”
The Tuesday report by CNN cited two American officials to say that the possible launch by Pyongyang could be for the so-called Musudan missile, which Washington believes can hit Guam and maybe Shemya Island in the outer reaches of Alaska’s Aleutian chain. However, officials also presented two other scenarios.
One was that Pyongyang could launch either its Kn-08 or Kn-14 mobile ballistic missiles, which can potentially hit the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., or it could do nothing. The CNN report cited officials as saying that North Korea was aware of the spy satellites of the U.S. and the move could be a deception effort by Pyongyang, suggesting that it was about to take action.
It was not clear how precise the guidance systems are and if the missiles would be able to carry a simulated warhead, but if Pyongyang was to launch a mobile missile with that range, it would be a significant military advancement, CNN reported.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s Yonhap reported Tuesday that the country plans to introduce 24 fixed and 16 mobile loudspeaker systems by the end of 2016 to boost its ongoing broadcasting campaign against North Korea. The report added that Seoul has set aside 18.3 billion won ($16 million) to procure the speakers, which are expected to be delivered by November.
The plan “aims at replacing aging loudspeakers with high-performance ones in order to enhance the flexibility of broadcasting operations,” Yonhap reported, citing the notices on a public tender calling for local suppliers to develop the high-end speakers. The messages from the new loudspeakers are expected to be powerful enough to reach over 6 miles and could work in all weather.
Seoul had started broadcasting anti-North Korea messages on the loudspeakers following an escalation of tensions between the two Koreas after a landmine exploded in the southern part of the demilitarized zone, injuring two South Korean soldiers. While Seoul blamed Pyongyang for it, Pyongyang denied all allegations.