Norks escalate by putting rockets on standby to hit US bases
North Korea put its rocket units on standby on Friday to attack US military bases in South Korea and the Pacific, after the United States flew two nuclear-capable stealth bombers over the Korean peninsula in a rare show of force.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un signed off on the order at a midnight meeting of top generals and "judged the time has come to settle accounts with the US imperialists in view of the prevailing situation", the official KCNA news agency said.
On Thursday, the United States flew two radar-evading B-2 Spirit bombers on practice runs over South Korea, responding to a series of North Korean threats. They flew from the United States and back in what appeared to be the first exercise of its kind, designed to show America's ability to conduct long-range, precision strikes "quickly and at will", the US military said.
The news of Kim's response was unusually swift.
"He finally signed the plan on technical preparations of strategic rockets of the KPA, ordering them to be standby for fire so that they may strike any time the US mainland, its military bases in the operational theatres in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in South Korea," KCNA said.
The North has an arsenal of Soviet-era Scud missiles that can hit South Korea but its longer-range missiles are untested. Independent assessments of its missile capability suggest it may have theoretical capacity to hit US bases in Japan and Guam.
...Will Obama respond by putting US forces on Defcon 3? What North Korea is doing is confirming the judgment that it is a mistake to allow that country to acquire nuclear weapons and a missile delivery system. It was also a mistake for Obama to cancel some of the missile defense system in 2009. The Navy should be deploying its Aegis missile defense system near Korea in the meantime.