North Korea said this month that it will retaliate with a nuclear strike if ‘a single bullet is fired’ in confrontations with American and South Korean forces.
The statement, issued on March 8 by the DPRK’s Foreign Ministry, blames America for rising nuclear tensions in the Korean peninsula – describing American actions as an ‘undisguised nuclear war racket’.
The statement said, ‘The Korean People’s Army will reduce the bases of aggression and provocation to ashes with its invincible Hwasong rockets tipped with nuclear warheads and reliably defend the security of the country and its people’s happiness in case the U.S. and the south Korean puppet forces fire even a single bullet at the territory of the DPRK.’
North Korea says it has conducted five successful nuclear tests, and is believed to have more than 10 warheads, according to estimates by the The Washington-based Institute for Science and international Security.
What’s less clear is whether it has an ICBM which could strike America.
Prof Siegfried S Hecker of Stanford University said,, ‘We must assume that the DPRK has designed and demonstrated nuclear warheads that can be mounted on some of its short-range and perhaps medium-range missiles.’
Tensions between the dictatorship and the West rose this week as American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that 20 years of sanctions against the country had ‘failed’ and that military action was an ‘option on the table’.
Tillerson said, ‘Certainly we do not want to, for things to get to military conflict.’
‘If they elevate the threat of their weapons programme to a level that we believe requires action, then, that option’s on the table.’