North Korea will strike US military bases in Japan and South Korea, as well as the South Korean president’s residence in Seoul, if America engages in aggression against Pyongyang, North Korea’s General Staff warned, according to state news agency KCNA.
North Korea’s military promised to “ruthlessly ravage” the US if the American aircraft carrier group that is currently on its way to the region takes aggressive action.
“Our toughest counteraction against the US and its vassal forces will be taken in such a merciless manner as not to allow the aggressors to survive,” a statement from the military said.
“The Trump administration, which made a surprise guided cruise-missile strike on Syria on April 6, has entered the path of open threat and blackmail,” the statement added.
The General Staff noted that, American military bases in the Pacific, Guam, the island of Okinawa, which hosts the bulk of US troops in Japan, as well as the US mainland, are all within reach of North Korea’s strategic missiles.
On Friday, neighboring China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, warned that tensions between the US and North Korea had escalated to such a point that “a military conflict may start at any moment.”
“Lately, tensions have risen,” Wang said, adding “if a war occurs, the result is a situation in which everybody loses and there can be no winner.”
The Chinese FM called for the crisis to be solved through diplomacy, adding that if one of the sides provokes a conflict, it “will have to accept historic responsibility and pay the relevant price.”
Earlier, South Korea warned North Korea against engaging in any “provocation,” such as a nuclear or missile test, to mark the ‘Day of the Sun’, the 105th anniversary of the birth of North Korea’s state founder Kim Il Sung, which the country will celebrate on Saturday.
The speculations were fueled further when Pyongyang invited 200 foreign journalists from various media outlets, including CNN, AP, and Japan’s NHK, for “a big and important event.”
On Thursday, US intelligence officials told NBC that two American destroyers armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles are positioned some 480 kilometers from North Korea’s nuclear test site.
America is mulling a preemptive strike if it becomes “convinced” that a nuclear detonation by the North is imminent, multiple senior US intelligence officials told NBC News.
On Thursday, Trump said North Korea is a problem that “will be taken care of,” while expressing hope that China will “work very hard” to help Washington in solving it.
The tensions on the Korean Peninsula were extensively discussed during the US leader’s talks with visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping last week.
If Beijing fails to act, the Americans and their allies will deal with Pyongyang on their own, Trump wrote on Twitter.
US Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to arrive in South Korea on Sunday as part of a 10-day Asian tour.
Meanwhile, Air China, China’s national airline, has denied that it has suspended all flights to North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang, as was reported by broadcaster CCTV.
“Air China hasn’t stopped operations on the Beijing-Pyongyang route, but temporarily canceled some flights based on ticket sales,” which were in low demand, Air China’s press service told Reuters.