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North Korea's Kim Jong Un threatens attack on US bases in Pacific

KCNA via Reuters

North Korean soldiers attend military drills that the country's state-controlled KCNA news agency said took place on Wednesday. Kim Jong Un reportedly said that "when the drills turn into a battle, the enemies will be made to drink a bitter cup."

Kim Jong Un said on Wednesday that North Korea would attack U.S. military bases in the Pacific in addition to South Korea if its “enemies … make even the slightest movement,” according to the North’s official KCNA news agency.

The North also hit out over deployment of a U.S. B-52 bomber to South Korea, warning of “all-out action” - the latest of a series of threats issued by Pyongyang.

KCNA news agency said, in its usual flowery rhetoric, that the presence of the bomber showed the U.S. was preparing for "a pre-emptive nuclear strike," echoing its own earlier threat to do that.

Tensions have risen sharply on the Korean peninsula following a rocket test by the North in December and a nuclear bomb test in February.  In response, the U.N. Security Council unanimously agreed early this month to impose further sanctions.

The threat to attack American bases in the Pacific came in a KCNA article headlined “Kim Jong Un Guides Drone Attack, Self-Propelled Flak Rocket Drills,” which trumpeted the success of a drill that was said to have destroyed an “enemy” cruise missile.

“When the drills turn into a battle, the enemies will be made to drink a bitter cup, unable to raise their heads, in the face of retaliatory blows of the strong revolutionary Paektusan army, he [Kim] said,” KCNA reported.

“He [Kim] said that if the enemies, oblivious of the tremendous might of the KPA, make even the slightest movement, he will give an order to destroy not only the military installments and puppet reactionary ruling institutions in the operational theater in south Korea but the relevant facilities of countries following the U.S. war moves for invading the DPRK, and the military bases of the U.S. imperialist aggression forces in the operational theatre of the Pacific,” it said.

“He continued that time has gone when only words were made, stressing the need to destroy the enemies without mercy so that not a single man can survive to sign a document of surrender when a battle starts,” it added.

The youngest son of Kim Jong Il succeeded his late father in 2011, becoming the third member of his family to rule the unpredictable and reclusive communist state.

U.S. 'better stop acting rashly'
Another KCNA article said Wednesday that the U.S. had become “evermore undisguised in its moves to make a pre-emptive nuclear strike” on North Korea and that this “goes to clearly show who is the arch criminal threatening peace on this land.”

“The U.S. imperialists had better stop acting rashly, properly understanding the will of the army and people that have turned out as one in an all-out action for a final victory,” it said.

North Korea routinely issues threats that sound alarming, but expert commentators have said the recent rhetoric has been stronger than in the past. North Korea has even said it has scrapped the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

Reuters summarized current thinking about the threat posed by the North:

North Korea's missiles have the capacity to hit bases in Japan and on the island of Guam.

Most military experts say that the North will likely not launch an all-out war against South Korea and its U.S. ally due to its outdated weaponry.

Pyongyang is viewed as more likely to stage an attack along a disputed sea border between the two countries as it did in 2010 when it shelled a South Korean island, killing four people.

Such a move would provide a major test for new South Korean President Park Geun-hye who took office pledging closer ties with the North if it abandoned its nuclear push.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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