North Korea Readies Long-Range Missiles And Talks Of "Merciless Strikes" On U.S.

The move is apparently a reply to the U.S.'s stealth bomber training exercise with South Korea yesterday.

North Korea has put its missiles on standby, state media has reported. According to news agency KCNA, the country's leader signed off on the order in a late-night meeting with his generals, and is ready to "settle accounts" with the U.S. The move is a riposte to yesterday's joint U.S.-South Korea training exercise with two American stealth bombers taking part in the drill.

Kim Jong Un, the DPRK's third-generation dictator, was reported by KCNA as saying this: "If they (the U.S.) make a reckless provocation with huge strategic forces, the Korean People's Army should mercilessly strike the U.S. mainland, their stronghold, their military bases in the operational theaters in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in South Korea."

While the U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called the preparations "dangerous" and said that his forces would respond to "these provocations," China called for calm, repeating Tuesday's call for both sides to act on the "tense situation."

Two hotlines have been cut, one humanitarian, one military in the past two weeks as North Korea has ramped up its warlike rhetoric, following a series of successful rocket launches and nuclear tests. Ten days ago, Japan intercepted a cargo of nuclear materials on a ship bound for North Korea.

[Image by Flickr user (stephan)]

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