North Korea has threatened to attack Seoul’s presidential palace.
On Saturday, the isolated nation warned that its military is prepared to attack the palace unless South Korean President Park Geun-hye apologizes for “treason” and “publicly executes officials” responsible for what Pyongyang says are plans to attack its leadership, according to the Associated Press.
As happens every year when South Korea and Washington engage in war games, Pyongyang has sent a barrage of threats. This latest warning came via state media in the name of a unit of the Korean People’s Army.
— POLITICO (@politico) March 26, 2016
Believing the military drills are a threat and a preparation for invasion, a North Korean propaganda outlet, DPRK Today, posted a video earlier on Saturday depicting a nuclear attack on Washington, D.C.
While tension is always high during the joint military exercises, this year is particularly high because the drills are bigger than ever and come on the heels of North Korea’s recent nuclear test and rocket launch.
Pyongyang is also particularly angry this go-round stemming from reports in South Korean media that this year’s exercises include simulated training for a “decapitation strike” targeting North Korea’s top leaders.
The north warned on Saturday that the South Korean presidential palace is in easy striking range of the North’s artillery units, and that if an order to attack is merely “a click away.”
Despite the warnings, officials see very little likelihood that Pyongyang would carry out any threats.
The digitally created, four-minute video depicting a nuclear attack on Washington, titled “Last Chance,” shows a missile fired from a submerged vessel in the sea soaring through the clouds, darting back to Earth, and crashing into the streets near Washington’s Lincoln Memorial before the explosion wipes out the city.
North Korea has threatened to attack South Korea’s presidential palace. pic.twitter.com/YTASNbKF5p
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 26, 2016
A message that accompanies the post gives the United States one of two choices.
“Choose, United States. Whether the country called United States continues to exist in this planet depends on your choice.”
The video further states that Pyongyang would “not hesitate” to attack the United States with its nuclear weapons if “American imperialists even make the slightest move against us.”
North Korea has been developing its nuclear weapons and missile capabilities, but officials discount that the north is anywhere near having the capabilities of posing a significant threat to major U.S. cities.
Koh Yoo-hwan, a North Korean studies professor at Dongguk University in South Korea, told The Korea Herald, that Pyongyang’s threats are merely a smokescreen.
“Rather than to carry out a military action right away, they are trying to boast their deterrence. For now, there is little possibility (of North Korea) attacking first unless it is attacked first.”
The recent claims of North Korea include statements that it “can miniaturize a nuclear warhead to be mounted onto a ballistic missile, that is has successfully conducted a solid-fuel rocket engine test, and that it has a large-caliber multiple rocket launcher that can directly strike the South’s capital.”
— Sky News (@SkyNews) March 26, 2016
President Park reiterated her warning Friday against North Korea at a memorial for the South Korean soldiers killed during clashes with West Korea in the West Sea, which marks the sixth anniversary of the Cheonan warship sinking in 2010, when a North Korean torpedo attack on the ship left 46 South Korean sailors dead.
Park made a few threats of her own, saying “reckless provocations” will lead to the end of the North’s regime.
“The government will cooperate with the international community and apply firm hands on North Korea, until it is free from the illusion of nuclear armament and realizes that change is inevitable for its survival.”
[Photo by Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images]