“The doom of the U.S. has been sealed.” So reads a statement on North Korea’s official state media outlet, warning Pyongyang will attack the “U.S. Mainland” if American and South Korean forces complete a military drill simulating the collapse of the Kim Jong-un regime in March.
“All the service personnel and people of the DPRK are ready to immediately and mercilessly punish without slightest leniency, tolerance and patience anyone provoking the dignified supreme headquarters even a bit,” a statement at the Korean Central News Agency’s (KCNA) website read Tuesday, in response to the news that the United States and South Korea are preparing for a military drill that will have 300,000 soldiers simulating an invasion of North Korea. Pyongyang did not limit their rhetoric to vague proposals for attacking both countries, instead highlighting specifically what their first and second targets of attack will be should the military drill occur.
“Our primary target is the Chongwadae [the residence and office of South Korea’s president], the centre for hatching plots for confrontation with the fellow countrymen in the north, and reactionary ruling machines,” the statement read. “The U.S. imperialist aggressor forces’ bases for invading the DPRK in the Asia-Pacific region and the U.S. mainland are its second striking target,” it adds.
“The U.S. is fated to be punished and perish in the flames due to the DPRK’s deadly strikes,” the statement concludes.
The North Korean government has been threatening to “destroy” the United States with greater frequency this year, following the claim in mid-January that the North Korean military had detonated a hydrogen bomb (most experts believe this to be a lie, and the weapon in question to have been a much weaker hybrid atomic weapon than a hydrogen bomb). After the announcement of that detonation, KCNA published a report claiming that North Korea’s nuclear scientists were eager to “wipe out the entire United States with H-bombs,” celebrating the bomb test as a victory against “imperialism.”
15,000 American troops are expected to participate in the military exercises scheduled for early March, named Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, about quadruple the number the United States typically commits to these sorts of exercises. Both exercises are to occur simultaneously, and South Korean President Park Geun-hye has committed 290,000 South Korean troops to the effort. The exercises will simulate a situation in which the Kim Jong-un dictatorship has collapsed, and North Korea descended into chaos. The troops are to stabilize and secure a rudderless North Korea. Pyongyang has deemed the premise itself insulting, though the language of the KCNA statement also indicates it is treating the exercise as a practice invasion even if it is meant to occur in a North Korea without Kim.
News of the military drills surfaced days after North Korea published yet another screed personally insulting President Park, calling her a “senile granny” and “tailless, old, insane bitch.” North Korean media has routinely referred to President Park as a “bitch” for years.
The government in Seoul has expressed concern that North Korea will attack in the near future, with legislators noting the mounting evidence that Pyongyang has been attempting to collect as much information as possible on potential targets in the country. “More circumstances reveal that (North Korea) collects intelligence about key facilities in our country,” Lee Chul-woo, a ruling party legislator, said Wednesday. Lee appeared concerned for both conventional attacks and cyber-attacks on critical South Korean infrastructure.