An angry North Korea has cut the last remaining military hotlines with South Korea, raising tensions between the countries still further.
“There do not exist any dialogue channel and communications means between (North Korea) and the U.S. and between the North and the South,” the North Korean regime announced. “Not words but only arms will work on the U.S. and the South Korean puppet forces.”
That came after previous statements from the North Korea military claiming that its missiles “are assigned to strike bases of the U.S. imperialist aggressor troops in the U.S. mainland and on Hawaii and Guam and other operational zones in the Pacific as well as all the enemy targets in South Korea and its vicinity.”
“They should be mindful that everything will be reduced to ashes and flames the moment the first attack is unleashed.”
The United States has now responded with a message of its own, announcing that it sent two nuclear-capable B-2 Stealth bombers from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to the Korean peninsula, where they dropped dummy loads on a South Korean target range.
“This … demonstrates the United States’ ability to conduct long-range, precision strikes quickly and at will,” the Pentagon said, preferring understatement.
Yes, it does. The statement was highly unusual, and just in case it was missed, it was repeated for effect in a tweet by the U.S. embassy in Seoul, which included a link to the photo of a refueling B-2 posted above.
Given history, it’s tempting to dismiss the North Koreans as all bombast, no bomb blast. But there are signs that the U.S. military and South Korea are both taking this latest outburst pretty seriously. And as as Foreign Policy reminds us, this is a regime capable of putting 500,000 artillery rounds into Seoul, a city of 10 million, in just the first hour of a war.
In other words, they could do a lot of damage, even if in the end they would get the worst of it. In a tense situation, a miscalculation by any of the parties could produce a very bad outcome for all concerned.
– Jay Bookman