The warning was aimed at South Korea and U.S.’s commitment to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system that would effectively counter North Korea’s increasing nuclear capabilities.
Both the countries committed to the THAAD deployment on Friday, followed by a strong North Korean response.
The next morning, North Korea fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile, apparently targeting Seoul, the launch was said to have failed in the early stage of flight.
Now, North Korean military has issued a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency that said, “There will be physical response measures from us as soon as the location and time that the invasionary tool for U.S. world supremacy, THAAD, will be brought into South Korea are confirmed. It is the unwavering will of our army to deal a ruthless retaliatory strike and turn (the South) into a sea of fire and a pile of ashes the moment we have an order to carry it out.”
Meanwhile, in a separate statement, South Korean President Park Geun-hye said that the THAAD system was not intended to target any third country.
Geun-hye is said to have added that the THAAD system was purely aimed at countering the threat from the North, in an apparent message to Beijing. “I’m certain the international community knows full well that we have no intention whatsoever to target any other country or threaten them.”
Some reports quoted officials from South Korea as saying that authorities would round up on a site for the deployment of the THAAD wishing weeks and that they were working to make it operational by the end of 2017.
North Korea’s reaction has grown stronger as reports of the commitment to THAAD by rivals emerged merely a day after the U.S. Treasury Department blacklisted the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for human rights abuses.
The reclusive nation had claimed that the number of sanctions placed against the country and its leader amounted to a ‘declaration of war.’
Reports had stated that this was the first time that Kim Jong Un has been singled out personally, in the many sanctions slapped on the country, and placed on the blacklist for human rights abusers along with ten other officials.
It was added that the sanctions are a move within an escalating campaign to attack the regime’s finances to retaliate against North Korea’s nuclear-weapon and ballistic-missiles tests.
North Korea’s decision to adamantly pursue its nuclear programme, even in the face of strict UN sanctions, also led to U.S.’s decision to deploy an advanced missile defence system in South Korea.
North Korea’s only key ally, China is said to have been agitated over the move claiming that it would “seriously damage” regional security in Northeast Asia. Beijing even urged the U.S. and South Korea to reconsider the deployment. Russia too has raised objections claiming that U.S. is trying to flex military muscle in the region.
Pyongyang, on the other hand fired back at Washington after the announcement of the deployment, warning that North Korea would instantly cut off all diplomatic channels with the U.S. if the sanctions were not lifted.
North Korea drew international ire in January this year, when it declared that it had successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb. The country followed this with a satellite launch in February provoking the ire of the United Nations, that imposed the toughest sanctions ever on North Korea.
Unabashed, North then sent out several threatening signs and military provocations to neighbour and long-standing enemy, South Korea and its main ally, United States. The country had claimed to have secured key intercontinental ballistic missile technologies like the re-entry and engine technologies and even threatened to conduct a “nuclear warhead detonation” test.
Pyongyang also announced that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had inspected the final test fire of the 300-millimeter caliber rockets equipped with an accurate guidance system. Pyongyang then launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile thrice, all ending in failure.
After four test failures, North Korea recently fired two suspected powerful new Musudan mid-range missiles.