North Korea's youthful dictator Kim Jong-un said March 28 that his country is prepared “to settle accounts with the U.S.” after two American B-2 Stealth bombers participated in recent South Korean military exercises, flying close to the northern border to drop dummy bombs in what appeared to be a subtle message aimed at the increasingly bellicose nation.
On March 29, Kim followed up his rhetoric with a declaration that North Korea had entered into a “state of war” with South Korea. “From this time on, the North-South relations will be entering the state of war, and all issues raised between the North and the South will be handled accordingly,” North Korea announced in a statement released by its official news agency.
Fox News noted that the two nations are “already in a technical state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty.” But Pyongyang said earlier this month that it had decided to end the armistice, a move that has increased tension between North and South.
While American officials said the situation is serious, analysts said it seemed unlikely North Korea had the fire power to follow through on its threat to hit the United States with nuclear attacks supposedly aimed at Los Angeles, Hawaii, and even more inland cities. “Unless there has been a miraculous turnaround among North Korea's strategic forces, there is little to no chance that it could successfully land a missile on Guam, Hawaii, or anywhere else outside the Korean Peninsula that U.S. forces may be stationed,” wrote James Hardy, Asia-Pacific editor of Jane's Defence Weekly, in a commentary published by CNN.
As for the threat of war with South Korea, analysts speculated that the rhetoric is “aimed at drawing Washington into talks that could result in aid and boosting leader Kim Jong Un's image at home,” reported Fox. “But the harsh rhetoric from North Korea and rising animosity from the rivals that have followed U.N. sanctions over Pyongyang's Feb. 12 nuclear test have raised worries of a misjudgment leading to a clash.”
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Photo of U.S. B-2 Stealth bomber in South Korea: AP Images