The United States federal government have told authorities on the West coast to make emergency plans in case of a nuclear attack by North Korea, as the situation between North and South Korea have taken a dangerous turn this weekend.
South Korea have warned that they may be forced to react militarily if North Korea continue to provoke them:
“If the North continues to make provocations despite the stern warnings made by our military, it is inevitable for us to roll out a strict response that may lead to the destruction of the Pyongyang regime,” the South Korean Chiefs Of Staff said on Saturday morning.
North Korea has threatened to launch an indiscriminate “pre-emptive nuclear strike of justice” against Washington and Seoul. The warning came as the US and South Korea carried out their largest-ever joint landing drill.
North Korea’s military said it was ready to carry out an “ultra-precision blitzkrieg strike” on enemy targets participating in military drills on the Korean peninsula, according to a statement carried by state media on Saturday.
The threats were issued as South Korea and the US launched the “Ssangyong” (twin dragons) amphibious landing exercise. The drill involved 17,200 soldiers – 12,200 US troops and 5,000 from South Korea – and the storming of simulated North Korean beach defenses. The activities along the South’s eastern coast are part of eight weeks of joint exercises between the allies.
Washington and Seoul say the drills are defensive and routine, but the North has denounced them as preparations for an invasion, and warned it had the right to launch a “pre-emptive nuclear attack.” Such a strike is highly unlikely, however, and analysts believe the threat aims only to display government strength to the North Korean public ahead of a major ruling party convention in May.
In response to the statements, South Korea’s Defense Ministry chastised the North for its provocations and “rash behavior.” Tension on the Korean peninsula has been high since Pyongyang conducted a nuclear test in January and a long-range rocket launch last month.