(VIDEOS) Defying pressure from new United Nations sanctions, North Korea threatened Monday to use nuclear weapons against the U.S. if militarily provoked and said it would “under no circumstances” negotiate on its nuclear and missile weapons programs. Pyongyang says it will launch four missiles into waters ‘30-40km’ off US territory in Pacific Ocean !
North Korea has defied threats of “fire and fury” from Donald Trump, deriding his warning as a “load of nonsense” and announcing a detailed plan to launch missiles aimed at the waters off the coast of the US Pacific territory of Guam.
A statement attributed to General Kim Rak Gyom, the head of the country’s strategic forces, declared: “Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him”. The general outlined a plan to carry out a demonstration launch of four intermediate-range missiles that would fly over Japan and then land in the sea around Guam, “enveloping” the island.
The plan, if implemented, would see four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missiles fired into waters 30 to 40 kilometers (18 to 25 miles) off the coast of the US territory in response to escalating rhetoric from President Donald Trump.
Earlier this week, Trump vowed to meet any additional threats from Pyongyang with “fire and fury,” a statement backed by strong words from US Defense Secretary James Mattis.
North Korea must “cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and destruction of its people,” Mattis said in a written statement Wednesday.
Earlier, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had sought to defuse tensions by saying there was no sign the threat level of North Korea had changed and that Americans should “sleep well at night.”
North Korea’s estimated splash-down of the missiles would place them just outside of Guam’s 12 nautical mile territorial waters, but well within its 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone.
However, the new statement from North Korea’s state media made clear that Kim is in no mood to back down.
It criticizes Trump for having “let out a load of nonsense about ‘fire and fury,’ and accused him of “failing to grasp the on-going grave situation.”
“This is extremely getting on the nerves of the infuriated Hwasong artillerymen of the KPA,” it said, referring to the Korean People’s Army.
The article states that “sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him.”
It ends by putting the US on notice about any further threats against it, “we keep closely watching the speech and behavior from the US.”
The sudden escalation in tensions in the Pacific came after US intelligence analysts assessed that North Korea has now produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead, according to multiple sources familiar with the analysis of North Korea’s missile and nuclear program.
There is no indication that the Hwasong-12 missiles that could be fired near Guam would be tipped with nuclear warheads.
The KCNA report includes detailed provisional plans to launch four rockets “above Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi Prefectures of Japan,” and specified they would fly 3,356 kilometers (2,000 miles) for 1,065 seconds” as a “crucial warning to the US.” Following that flight path the missiles would also have to travel over the Japanese prefecture of Ehime.
The KPA Strategic Force will present the final plan for the launch to commander-in-chief of North Korea’s nuclear force — Kim — by mid-August and “wait for his order,” the report said.
Should Kim give the go-ahead, it would not be the first time a North Korean rocket has crossed over Japanese territory.
Pyongyang’s 2012 Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite launch — considered to be a major developmental step in the country’s missile program — flew over Japan’s southern Okinawa islands Previous launches have crossed the country’s main island, Honshu, including one in 2009.
Escalation in tensions
Last month Pyongyang tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles known as Hwasong-14, which it says are capable of hitting the US mainland.
In response to the missile tests, the UN Security Council passed a resolution imposing new sanctions. The resolution, which targets North Korea’s international revenue streams, was passed unanimously after strong lobbying from the United States. The US separately announced sanctions on North Korea, alongside Iran and Russia.
KCNA said that a KPA spokesman had “fully warned the US against its all-round sanctions.”
Images from North Korean state TV showed thousands of citizens protesting the sanctions.
Ri Su Yong, Vice Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee, addressed the crowd, saying the country’s nuclear program is under the pressure due to the sanctions, while warning that the US is “driving the situation on the Korean Peninsula to the verge of a nuclear war.”