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JH Ahn was an NK News contributor based in Seoul. He previously worked as an interpreter for United States Forces Korea.
North Korea on Wednesday re-emphasized its nuclear capabilities and repeated claims it will test an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) in the coming months.
In an apparent nod to the Trump administration, Pyongyang highlighted the need for the U.S. to accept North Korea as a nuclear-weapons state, Workers’ Party organ Rodong Sinmun said.
“We have miniaturized, lightened and diversified our nuclear weapons, and they can be loaded on various delivery systems to be launched anytime and anywhere,” Rodong said. “There is nothing we are afraid of. In the future, phenomenal incidents to strengthen our national defense power will take place multiple times and repeatedly.”
While North Korea did not specifically mention President-elect Trump, who will be inaugurated next Friday, the target audience for its message was clearly the incoming administration.
“Unless the U.S.’s anti-DPRK policies change, we will, officially, continue to strengthen our preemptive strike abilities and nuclear capability for our self-defense.”
“Just because the U.S. is located more than ten thousand kilometers away, does not make the country safe (from us). The U.S. is still located on the face of the earth… soon our ICBM will send the shiver down its spine.”
The statement also threatened the U.S. Forces Korea, saying that U.S. bases in South Korea are already being targeted by the Hwasong artillery units of the KPA Strategic Force.
“The moment the war breaks out, our systems will mercilessly strike the enemy’s ports where the U.S. aircraft carrier fleet and military equipment will arrive,” Rodong said.
While the North did not specify which ports were being targeted, a long-time military expert narrowed it down to three major South Korean harbors, including at Busan, the largest South Korean distribution hub.
“U.S. reinforcements to South Korea, during the times of war, is to be done with its aircraft. But the heavy equipment including tanks would arrive by ships,” Choi Hyun-ho, director of Milidom.net, a South Korean military-focused website told NK News.
“The ports that North Koreans are mentioning are most-likely Busan, Gwangyang Port, and Pyongtaek Port. These locations, without the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, are exposed to North Korea’s intermediate-range missiles like Hwasong-10.”
This is the third time this month North Korea has threatened the U.S. with its ICBM systems; the first case in Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s address, and the second on Sunday when its foreign ministry said its missiles could be launched anytime and anywhere.
Trump responded to Kim Jong Un’s speech tweeting “It won’t happen!”, a statement that was welcomed by the Seoul government, NK News reported.
Featured Image: Rodong Sinmun, Hwasong-13 Mod-2 (KN-14) ballistic missiles on their TELs on parade in Pyongyang, October 2015