North Korea has been a thorn in the U.S.’s collective side for many years – their threat level growing from annoying to dangerous as their nuclear program moved from theoretical to factual. In 2003, our neighbor to the far East announced that they had nuclear weapons capabilities, and the world changed.
Their threats contain an element of the unknown — we don’t know how far North Korea has gone in developing their nuclear capabilities — and so require us to take them much more seriously, especially with a sociopathic dictator at the helm.
This time the warning came from one of North Korea’s leading military commanders, Vice Marshal Hwang Pyong-So of the Korean People’s Army. While speaking at a large rally, he openly threatened to target the White House with nuclear missiles.
“If the US imperialists threaten our sovereignty and survival… our troops will fire our nuclear-armed rockets at the White House and the Pentagon — the sources of all evil.”
Of course this is not the first time that the U.S. has been “targeted” by North Korea, and their threats have generated much speculation on how seriously we should take them. Those who’ve been keeping an eye on North Korea believe they has nuclear capabilities, but have proven unable to confirm whether they have the technology to hit targets in the United States.
The North Koreans have been testing rocket engines and systems for a long-range, mobile missile system designated as the KN-08. In a November 2013 interview with The Washington Times, Navy Admiral Samuel Locklear shared his thoughts on the weapon.
“From a military planning perspective, when I see KN-08 road-mobile missiles that appear in a North Korean military parade, I am bound to take that serious . . . should we speculate that those missiles potentially have the technology to reach out [to hit us] . . . whether they have that capability or not, the North Korea regime wants us to think they do, and so we plan for that.”
That’s military speak for “better safe than sorry.”
Follow North Korea’s nuclear timeline from CNN
Featured image: Photo: Screen grab from North Korean propaganda video, March 2013, via LeakSource.