Pyongyang is threatening preemptive strikes against U.S. and South Korean troops in response to alleged decapitation drills targeting North Korean leadership.
U.S. and South Korean strategic plans for a nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula are said to include strikes on North Korean leadership, as well as the North’s weapons facilities and military command centers. The ongoing Foal Eagle drills reportedly involve joint exercises for such a situation.
South Korean media has reported that U.S. and South Korean special forces are training for such a contingency. North Korea asserts that these troops were dispatched “at the direct instruction of the U.S. president.”
“The [Korean People’s Army] will not remain a passive onlooker to hordes of robbers trying to hurt our people with daggers,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency wrote, citing the General Staff of the KPA. The North Korean military explained that the presence of spec ops units on the Korean peninsula justifies an attack.
“The KPA will deal deadly blows without prior warning any time as long as the operation means and troops of the U.S. and South Korean puppet forces involved in the ‘special operation’ and ‘preemptive attack’ targeting the [Democratic Republic of Korea] remain deployed in and around South Korea,” the North Korean military warned.
“Once the enemy launches the said ‘operation and strike,’ they will bring about a historic event in which the U.S. imperialists will face a miserable doom and the South Korean puppet forces a final ruin,” the report added.
The Foal Eagle drills typically provoke an aggressive response from North Korea, but Pyongyang has been particularly hostile since Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggested that military action is an option for dealing with North Korea. The North believes the new administration, which has yet to formulate a North Korea policy, has taken a hard-line stance against it.
It is unclear whether U.S. and South Korean troops have conducted exercises aimed at eliminating North Korean leadership, but allied troops practiced raiding a mock North Korean chemical weapons facility last week.
Since the start of the joint drills on the peninsula, North Korea has fired off multiple ballistic missiles in drills rehearsing strikes on American and South Korean troops and strategic assets.
The U.S. has deployed significant military assets, including supersonic bombers, multi-role stealth fighters, nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers, and elite combat troops to the peninsula for the drills.
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