Another day, another threat from North Korea — empty or not, we do not know.
A Sunday editorial in North Korean state-run media outlet Rodong warns the United States that if it continues to conduct joint military operations with South Korea “nuclear war [may break out] at any moment,” Sky News reported.
The statement is available to view in full on the helpful website KCNA Watch, which prints in English the articles run by the state-run agency KCNA.
Quoting an unnamed spokesman from the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (CPRC and DPRK, respectively), KCNA referred to the U.S. and South Korean military might as “puppet forces” and warned that a planned Dec. 4. aerial drill is a “war rehearsal [that] is just a grave military provocation.”
The article notably said President Donald Trump is “running wild,” “insane” and “bluffing” when condemning inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests.
“What matters is the fact that the drill simulating an actual war is to be staged at a time when insane President Trump is running wild, terming the DPRK’s ICBM test-fire ‘action never to be pardonable’ and bluffing as if he would do ‘anything in response,'” the KCNA translation reads. “[Trump is] stunned by the DPRK’s realization of the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force and the cause of building a rocket power.”
The KCNA news release also said the allied powers of the U.S. and South Korea are the real “war maniacs” whose aggression justifies North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear deterrence.
“The situation clearly proves that the U.S. and the south Korean puppet war maniacs are just aggressors and provocateurs breaking peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in the region,” it continued. “DPRK was entirely just when it decided to invariably take the path of simultaneously developing the two fronts in order to bolster up its war deterrent in every way.”
Finally, North Korea warned that further escalation through joint drills “will only invite more terrible retaliation and precipitate their self-destruction.”
President Trump responded on Tuesday to the ICBM launch, a launch that Defense Secretary James Mattis also said flew “higher […] than any previous shot they’ve taken.” The president then announced Wednesday morning that he had already spoken to China’s President Xi Jinping and that “major sanctions” would be imposed on North Korea.
Trump said the “situation will be handled!”
“Just spoke to President XI JINPING of China concerning the provocative actions of North Korea. Additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea today. This situation will be handled!” he tweeted.
The ICBM, dubbed Hwasong 15 (“Mars”) flew as high as 2,800 miles and traveled for 50 minutes, according to ABC News.
“The great success in the test-fire of ICBM Hwasong-15 is a priceless victory won by the great and heroic people of the DPRK who have upheld the WPK’s line on the simultaneous development of the two fronts with loyalty,” North Korea said in a statement, “without the slightest vacillation, despite the vicious challenges by the U.S. imperialists and their followers and manifold difficulties.”
The New York Post quoted physicist David Wright, who estimated that the missile could have traveled 8,100 miles and would have “more than enough range to reach Washington, D.C.”
“Such a missile would have more than enough range to reach Washington, D.C., and in fact any part of the continental United States,” he said, though the U.S. Department of Defense said the missile could not threaten the U.S., its territories or its allies.