N Korea threatens US bases in Japan

N Korea threatens US bases in Japan

North Korea on Thursday threatened strikes on US military bases in Japan and Guam, escalating tensions as suspicion deepened that Pyongyang was behind a cyber attack on South Korean broadcasters and banks.

The tone of the strike threat, attributed to a spokesman of the army’s supreme command, blended with the torrent of warlike rhetoric spewed out by Pyongyang in recent weeks, but stood out for its precise naming of targets.

Military tensions on the Korean peninsula are at their highest level for years, with Pyongyang irate at the use of nuclear-capable US B-52 bombers and nuclear submarines in ongoing joint military drills with South Korea.

“The US should not forget that the Andersen base on Guam where B-52s take off and naval bases on the Japan mainland and Okinawa where nuclear-powered submarines are launched, are all within the range of our precision target assets,” the army spokesman said.

North Korea has successfully tested medium-range missiles that can reach Japan, but has no proven long-range missile capability that would allow it to hit targets on the US mainland or Guam — more than 2,000 miles away.

Nevertheless, US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel announced last week that Washington had decided to bolster missile defences along the US west coast so as to “stay ahead of the threat” from the North Korean regime.

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