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Mattis: Kim Jong-Un’s Bombastic Nuclear Threats Are Hollow

North Korea’s been making a lot of noise lately regarding nuclear strikes, but Secretary of Defense James Mattis says their threats may not ring true.

“As far as North Korea’s latest words (are concerned), I think we’ve all come to hear their words repeatedly, their word has not proven honest,” Mattis said in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday.

The day before, the North threatened to reduce the U.S. to ashes.

“In the case of our super-mighty preemptive strike being launched, it will completely and immediately wipe out not only U.S. imperialists’ invasion forces in South Korea and its surrounding areas but the U.S. mainland and reduce them to ashes,” the Rodong Sinmun, the paper of the ruling party, wrote Thursday.

While North Korea has presented several intercontinental ballistic missile mockups, the North has yet to demonstrate that it has a functional long-range weapon capable of striking targets in the U.S. Furthermore, it is unclear whether the North Koreans have developed a suitable nuclear warhead for their ballistic missiles.

North Korea does, however, have a number of reliable short and mid-range missiles that could be used against American forces in South Korea and Japan. The North also has a strong artillery force that could wreak havoc on its southern neighbors. Additionally, there is evidence suggesting the North Koreans have combat-ready chemical and biological weapons.

While North Korea continues to represent a serious threat, its bluster, especially in publications like the Rodong Sinmun, is often exaggerated.

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