Kim Jong-un
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un claps after inspecting an artillery firing drill of the Korean People's Army units in an undisclosed location REUTERS

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has declared that it is time to “settle accounts” with the United States as he reportedly readied the country’s artillery for a possible strike against the United States mainland and military bases in South Korea and the Pacific.

“The time has come to settle accounts with the US imperialists in view of the prevailing situation,” Kim said to North Korean state media agency KCNA.

According to Reuters, on Thursday, the United States flew two B-2 bombers over South Korea and dropped inert ammunition as a part of a military exercise. The two stealth bombers flew from a military base in Missouri in what the United States claims is a defensive exercise. Earlier in the week, the United States made a similar military simulation with a B-52 bomber.

North Korea reportedly saw this as a hostile measure, and has taken steps to ready its artillery against strategic targets. Though North Korean military claims to be capable of hitting the United States mainland, its arsenal is largely composed of Soviet-made SCUD missiles with a much shorter range, Reuters reports. North Korea has not tested any missiles with a long enough range to attack the United States.

"He finally signed the plan on technical preparations of strategic rockets of the KPA, ordering them to be standby for fire so that they may strike any time the U.S. mainland, its military bases in the operational theaters in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in South Korea," KCNA reported. While the North Korean military maintains that they are prepared to strike the United States, the report also suggests that they will not fire until properly provoked.

"If they make a reckless provocation with huge strategic forces, [we] should mercilessly strike the U.S. mainland, their stronghold, their military bases in the operational theaters in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in South Korea," KCNA continued.

In recent months, North Korea has grown increasingly hostile over a series of United Nations sanctions levied against the country over a nuclear test. Kim Jong-Un has canceled the 1953 armistace that ended the Korean War with the United States and South Korea, and recently tore out a diplomatic hotline to South Korean leadership.

Reuters also notes that while North Korea continues to make threats, they have also continued to operate a joint-economic zone on the South Korean border. Factories in the area provide nearly $2 billion annually to North Korea, and it seems unlikely that they would shut the region down without a very legitimate reason.