Following an announcement from North Korea April 3 that its military had been cleared to launch a nuclear attack against the United States, South Korean news sources said that North Korea had placed two of intermediate range missiles on mobile launchers and transferred them to the east coast of the country. The movement was apparently meant as a demonstration from the North that it was prepared to make good on its threats against the United States.
Reuters News reported that the missiles on the launchers may have the ability to reach Japan and some U.S. Pacific bases. “Speculation centered on two kinds of missiles, neither of which is known to have been tested,” reported Reuters. “One was the so-called Musudan missile which South Korea's Defense Ministry estimates has a range of up to 3,000 km (1,865 miles). The other is called the KN-08, which is believed to be an inter-continental ballistic missile, which is again untested.”
The latest developments are a followup to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un's (shown in photo) declaration March 28 that his country was prepared “to settle accounts with the U.S.” after two American B-2 Stealth bombers participated in South Korean military exercises, flying close to the northern border to drop training munitions in what appeared to be a subtle warning against North Korea's military flexing.
Though verbal threats from North Korea have been customary over the past several decades, Kim's more aggressive actions have prompted a serious response from the Pentagon, which has said it is taking North Korea's actions as a real threat. The renewed tensions come just a month into the administration of South Korea's new president, Park Geun-hye, and follow UN sanctions in response to a series of nuclear tests conducted by North Korea.
In the wake of North Korea's actions, the United States has sent Navy vessels into the region, and has moved missile defense systems to U.S. bases in Guam as a precautionary measure. CNN reported that while Defense Department officials say a missile launch from North Korea is possible, such a launch would likely be a test rather than an actual attack, because the missiles don't appear to be aimed at U.S. targets.
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