After the United States military successfully tested a new type of anti-missile rocket Tuesday, North Korea leader Kim Jong Un remained defiant, issuing another in his series of grave warnings to the U.S. of his intentions to use nuclear weapons. Kim was clear in his threat — he will not hesitate to stage a nuclear attack against the U.S., according to a statement published in North Korea’s official state-run newspaper.
In fact, according to the Rodong Sinmun newspaper, Kim said that he would “turn the (United States) into ashes,” in a threat that came in response to Tuesday’s historic test of a ground-based interceptor system designed to shoot down incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles — including nuclear-armed missiles headed toward the U.S. mainland or other U.S. territory from North Korea.
The U.S. Defense Department conducted the test on Tuesday afternoon, firing the interceptor rocket from Vandenburg Air Force Base along the coastline of California’s Santa Barbara County. An unarmed ICBM was also fired from a location in the central Pacific Ocean.
According to a Pentagon statement, the anti-missile rocket scored “a direct hit,” and “annihilated” the incoming ICBM, according to an ABC News report.
For further information, including video of the “Ground-Based Midcourse Defense” system rocket launch, see the following video news report from CBS This Morning, below.
“The intercept of a complex, threat-representative ICBM target is an incredible accomplishment for the GMD system and a critical milestone for this program,” said Vice Admiral Jim Syring, director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency on Tuesday. “This system is vitally important to the defense of our homeland, and this test demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat.”
But Kim Jong Un, in his statement issued on a Rodong Sinmun article headlined, “No One Can Stop the Nuclear Power State, Rocketry Master in the East,” used more colorful and descriptive language.
“We’re prepared to test-fire ICBMs anywhere and anytime on orders from the supreme commander. The United States must know our declaration that we can turn the devils’ den into ashes with nuclear weapons is not an empty threat,” the paper said, according to a Channel News Asia report.
The “supreme commander” refers to Kim, while the “devils’ den” appears to refer to the United States.
While the U.S. anti-missile system test was, according to the Pentagon, planned for months and not specifically designed to stop incoming missiles from North Korea, Pentagon spokesperson and U.S. Navy Captain Jeff Davis, acknowledged that the military had the rogue nation on its mind in carrying out Tuesday’s test.
“In a broad sense, North Korea is one of the reasons why we have this capability,” Davis said. “They continue to conduct test launches, as we saw this weekend, while also using dangerous rhetoric that suggests they would strike the United States homeland.”
On Monday, North Korea fired a SCUD missile into the Sea of Japan, reaching into Japan’s “Exclusive Economic Zone,” meaning that the test missile could have posed a danger to ships and other maritime activities off of Japan’s coastline, though no damage was reported.
Kim followed that test with another warning, saying that North Korea was prepared to deliver a “gift package” of missiles to the United States in response to the stepped-up U.S. military maneuvers along the Korean peninsula this week.
[Featured Image by Vincent Yu/AP Images]