North Korea threatened “indiscriminate” nuclear strikes against South Korea and the US mainland, as the two allies prepared to kick off large-scale joint military drills on Monday. The threat to carry out what it described as a “pre-emptive nuclear strike of justice” was made in a statement by the North’s powerful National Defence Commission, citing the Supreme Command of the Korean People’s Army (KPA).
It came just days after leader Kim Jong-Un ordered the country’s nuclear arsenal to be placed on standby for use “at any moment,” in response to tough new UN sanctions imposed over the North’s fourth nuclear test in January and last month’s long-range rocket launch.
Pyongyang has issued dire warnings of nuclear attack in the past, usually during periods of elevated military tensions on the divided Korean peninsula. While the North is known to have a small stockpile of nuclear warheads, experts are divided about its ability to mount them on a working missile delivery system. Read more