North Korean state media said Wednesday the U.S. missile defense shield scheduled for deployment in South Korea will be the number one target in the event of a nuclear strike on the South.
Playing on the fears of some South Koreans, North Korea promised to target the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile shield scheduled for deployment in Seongju with nuclear weapons.
“If THAAD is deployed in South Korea, it will be exposed to nuclear strikes here and there as the primary target,” said a Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) report.
The U.S. and South Korea announced plans in July to install THAAD in South Korea next year. The announcement came in response to North Korea’s fourth nuclear test, which it conducted in January. Since the U.S. and South Korea confirmed these plans, the North has been absolutely fuming.
Pyongyang was quick to criticize the U.S., calling the plans for THAAD a part of an ongoing effort to dominate the world.
North Korea is also highly critical of South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye, who has taken a much tougher stance against the South’s northern neighbor. “It is necessary to make a clean sweep of Park Geun-hye without delay if the Korean people are to escape a horrible nuclear disaster,” the KCNA report said. “All Koreans should never allow the Park group to deploy THAAD in South Korea.”
Many in Seongju have protested the THAAD deployment, claiming that the new missile shield will make their city a target, reports Yonhap News Agency. Around 900 citizens gathered for a protest against THAAD back in August. Despite concerns from some South Koreans, as well as China, Russia, and North Korea, Park has stated that the deployment of THAAD in South Korea is “unavoidable.” The North’s latest comments appear designed to reignite the fears of the people in Seongju.
The North’s threats also alluded to studies which suggest that THAAD may be ineffective against North Korea’s projectile weaponry and claimed that THAAD cannot save South Korea from destruction. “Park is vociferating that THAAD will protect the South Korean people in contingency but the fact is quite contrary,” the KCNA report explained. “The Park regime’s frenzy to cope with the nuclear strike of the DPRK with THAAD is as foolish as trying to cover a naked body with leaves.”
North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test on September 9. North Korea asserts that it can now mount nuclear warheads on ballistic missiles. If one nuclear-tipped missile were to make it through the cracks, it would bring serious devastation to South Korea. For this reason, South Korea and the U.S. have been looking into a number of a different defensive countermeasures.
President Barack Obama said Tuesday that North Korea’s nuclear activities “endanger all of us” and that the Kim Jong Un regime must “face consequences.”
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