THE US yesterday responded to nuclear threats from North Korea by moving advanced missile systems to Guam and warning that the country “presents a real and clear danger”.
The move came after Pyongyang stepped up its sabre rattling by informing the US that it had ratified a nuclear strike on the country.
“We formally inform the White House and Pentagon that the ever-escalating US hostile policy toward [North Korea] and its reckless nuclear threat will be smashed by the strong will of all the united service personnel and people and cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means of [North Korea],” a statement from the country’s government said. “The merciless operation of its revolutionary armed forces in this regard has been finally examined and ratified.”
US defence secretary Chuck Hagel responded by saying it would send an aerial defence system to the island in the Pacific Ocean. “Some of the actions they’ve taken over the last few weeks, present a real and clear danger,” he said, adding that the US was working with China and other states to defuse the situation.
The £500m defence system was originally scheduled to be deployed on Guam in 2015, but will now be there within weeks.
Pyongyang’s statement came after a number of moves that have sparked fears over security in the region.
Yesterday, it closed a joint factory on the border with South Korea which houses thousands of workers from both countries and is seen as a crucial bond between the two nations, as well as a key part of North Korea’s impoverished economy.
Its young leader, Kim Jong-Un, has also repeatedly boasted of its nuclear prowess, conducting highly publicised tests, although little is known about the country’s military abilities.
The Pentagon said yesterday that the deployment was simply a defensive move and did not mean that hostilities had been ratcheted up, calling it a “precautionary move to strengthen our regional defence posture against the North Korean regional ballistic missile threat”.