North Korea threatened a preemptive nuclear attack against the United States ahead of an upcoming vote on additional UN sanctions against Pyongyang.
The country also accused the United States of performing military drills in South Korea as a launching pad for nuclear war. North Korea adds that it plans to scrap the armistice that ended Korean War hostilities.
The North’s foreign ministry released a statement, which was carried by the country’s official news agency, KCNA. The statement read: “Since the United States is about to ignite a nuclear war, we will be exercising our right to preemptive nuclear attack against the headquarters of the aggressor in order to protect our supreme interest.”
The sanctions are being deliberated by the UN Security Council following a third nuclear test, which was conducted underground on February 12. The statement added that North Korea will be allowed to take action on March 11 because that is when the military drills with the US and South Korea will move into a full-scale phase.
Along with threatening a preemptive nuclear attack against the United States, North Korea has threatened the South in recent days as tensions mount between the two nations. South Korea sent a strong message to the North on Wednesday, saying it would strike back at its northern neighbor and target the country’s top leadership should Pyongyang attack first.
Despite the threat of a nuclear attack, experts believe that North Korea doesn’t currently have a missile that can carry a nuclear warhead. They launched a satellite into orbit in December, which many believe was a veiled test of a long-range missile. Despite this, it is unlikely they have a nuclear missile that can hit the United States.
The UN Security Council is expected to approve more sanctions against North Korea in response to last month’s nuclear test. The sanctions are expected to be announced on Thursday. It is unlikely the threat by North Korea for a preemptive nuclear strike against the US will stop the sanctions from being approved.