North Korea threatens Guam, Hawaii, rest of U.S.
BEIJING — China may be reaching the point that it has to take concrete steps to calm ally North Korea, which on Tuesday threatened strikes targeting Guam, Hawaii and the U.S. mainland, analysts said.
China's foreign policy team under recently installed President Xi Jinping “could be more tough on North Korea, as they are more irresponsible in their rhetoric and that will hurt China's interests,” said Shen Dingli, an international relations expert and North Korea watcher at Shanghai's Fudan University.
“We have to teach North Korea a lesson, but not to further the trend of instability spiraling. We need to punish them, without exciting them,” he said.
North Korea said it was putting its long-range rocket units on the highest possible combat-posture level after what it called provocations from the United States.
The U.S. military and the South Korean military have been conducting regularly scheduled drills on land this month. The Pentagon said at least one B-52 bomber was flown over South Korea.
Tuesday, the North Korean army's Supreme Command said it will take “practical military action” to protect national sovereignty and its leadership in response to what it called U.S. and South Korean plots to attack.
“From this moment, the Supreme Command of the Korean People's Army will be putting in combat duty posture No. 1 all field artillery units, including … strategic rocket units that will target all enemy objects in U.S. invasionary bases,” the KCNA news agency said.
The North Korean military statement referred to the B-52 flight as a provocation.
The Pentagon said it is confident it can handle any military capabilities the regime of Kim Jong Un can come up with.
“The U.S. is fully capable of defending ourselves and our allies against an attack” by North Korea, Pentagon spokesman Jack Miller said. “We are firmly committed to defending the Republic of Korea and Japan.”
The Pentagon and South Korean military signed a new plan on Friday to defend the country against possible attack. The plan was developed when North Korea shelled South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island in 2010, killing four people and destroying dozens of homes.
The North Korean statement occurred on the third anniversary of a torpedo attack on a South Korea warship that killed 46 sailors. Pyongyang denies the warship sinking.
The two Koreas have clashed repeatedly in recent years, and North Korea has vowed to turn Seoul into a “sea of fire.”
North Korea has expressed anger over the military drills and crippling sanctions endorsed by the United Nations over a nuclear test by the North on Feb. 12.