Tensions have been steadily mounting between the North Korean government and the United States this year. After Otto Warmbier’s death and with North Korea launching a test firing of a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) as a message to Americans on Independence Day, both nations could be preparing to definitively deal with each other.
Kim Jong-un’s government has issued a chilling threat to America, saying, “The U.S. openly said it would regularize sortie of the strategic bombers to the Korean peninsula. This is nothing but a frantic move declaring the will to play with fire on a powder house. The danger of a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula is reaching an extreme pitch owing to the reckless military provocations of the U.S. imperialists.” (via KCNA)
The threat was issued in a North Korean State newspaper on Sunday and was in response to American bombers dropping inert bombs in a joint exercise with the South Korean military. This joint exercise was a response to North Korea’s ICBM launch on July 4, which as stated by Kim Jong-un, was intended to “slap the American b**tards in their face.” (via New York Times)
Despite its poor command of English grammar, the North Korean propaganda article continued to accuse America of being the cause of these tensions, describing the U.S. as an “American empire” that is “wolf-like” in nature, and being “founded on the heap of skeletons of Amerindians.”
The totalitarian state has been working on developing a nuclear-tipped ICBM capable of hitting the United States for some time now, despite being banned from testing or developing missiles under a UN resolution. Although still unable to fit a functional nuclear bomb, the latest missile launch shows that North Korea has the technology to develop missiles capable of reaching Hawaii or Alaska.
However chilling the threats may seem, many are not too concerned over North Korea’s saber-rattling. Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, whose city would hypothetically be in the range of a North Korean ICBM, stated that “I’m worried about moose, not missiles. Bears, not bombs.” (via Fox News)
Another expert, Todd Sherwood, an attorney who served over a decade in the air force, said that any attack by the North Koreans would cause a severe reaction from the American military.
That said, measures are already being weighed to counter the threat, as Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) unveiled a bill in May that asked for 28 more ground-based interceptors, with half of them being stationed in Alaska.
“If you want to protect the continental United States, Alaska is literally the front line and best place to do that from an attack from North Korea,” a Senate staff member said. “Sullivan is not doing this because it’s potentially good for Alaska, he is doing this because Kim Jong-Un is continuing to test and advance his programs.” (via The Hill)
As the geopolitical situation continues to escalate in the Yellow Sea, there may come a time when the U.S. military will fight a Korean war again. Until then, we can only pray that the North Korean government won’t be foolish enough to follow through on their bluff.