North Korea has threatened to launch a pre-emptive nuclear attack against the United States and South Korea on Thursday morning. This marks this first time North Korea has made such a threat.
"Since the United States is about to ignite a nuclear war, we will be exercising our right to preemptive nuclear attack against the headquarters of the aggressor in order to protect our supreme interest." The statement was sent by the North Korean foreign ministry and aired on the state run KCNA news agency.
These threats, however, are nothing new. The U.S. and South Korea are used to receiving such threats and do so on an almost daily basis. Officials believe that North Korea is still years away from developing any nuclear technologies.
The heightened rhetoric comes as the United Nations prepares to pass a resolution authorizing a new round of sanctions. In the statement, North Korea warned the U.N. against adopting new sanctions, claiming that doing so would be reprise its role as the "U.S.’s war puppet." U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice said that the new round of sanctions being considered are some of the toughest ever ordered. The U.S. proposed sanctions are expected to be broadly supported.
North Korea, South Korea, and the U.S. have been conducting military drills in the area. The U.S. and South Korea will be conducting such drills until the end of April. These actions have prompted North Korean officials to declare the 1953 armistice null and void.
"We are watching the North's activities and stepping up readiness under the assumption that these drills can lead to provocation at any time," said South Korean defense ministry official Ki Min-Seok.
China, a staunch ally of North Korea, has come out in support of increased sanctions. China has been increasingly critical of the regime, especially after the nuclear tests in Pyongyang on February 12th. The sanctions are expected to put further financial hardship on the country in order to prevent funding for the expansion of their weapons program. The sanctions will also set up a naval blockade against North Korea. The sanctions will be voted on Thursday.
First the filibuster, and now this? The Obama administration has a busy weekend ahead of them.