Tensions on the Korean peninsula are still running high, as the North Koreans announced the successful test of a solid-fuel rocket booster and threatened to assassinate South Korean president Park Geun-Hye by “scorching” her offices with an “ultra-precision strike.”
Newsweek reports North Korean state media, including the Communist Party newspaper, are claiming a solid-fuel booster that could be used in intercontinental ballistic missiles has been successful test-fired. Photos of dictator Kim Jong Un inspecting a rocket engine while it “emitted a fiery blast” were published.
Solid-fuel engines would be an enormous improvement over Pyongyang’s liquid-fueled missiles for military use. Newsweek notes that despite the new reports in North Korean media, many experts believe they are still at least a decade away from creating an ICBM that could hit the continental United States.
Last week, the North Koreans claimed to have successfully simulated atmospheric re-entry for an ICBM, and said it would soon test missiles that could carry nuclear payloads.
North Korea’s nuclear test site is still active, fueling speculation that the regime could attempt another test detonation in advance of the upcoming Workers’ Party congress, the first such event in over 35 years.
Meanwhile, the usual propaganda threats to “annihilate the enemy without mercy” were accompanied by more specific threats by North Korea to attack South Korean president Park Geun-hye’s Blue House, her residence and office.
“All the dens of the enemy in South Korea, including the Cheong wa Dae, are the primary targets of the ultra-precision strike means,” said Pyongyang’s inappropriately-named Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea on Wednesday, using a Korean term for the Blue House.
The Washington Post translates the Committee’s claim that “powerful large-caliber multiple-rocket-launching systems” are standing by to “scorch the Cheong wa Dae bossed by Park Geun-hye in a jiffy.”
The Communist agency added that once the “buttons are pushed” on these missiles, the Blue House is “bound to be reduced to a sea of flames and ashes.”
For her part, Park vowed on Wednesday to “create the conditions in which North Korea cannot survive unless it changes.”
Reuters reports that South Korea’s military is on high alert, after Park ordered them to “respond actively to reckless provocations by the North.”