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Monday, August 22, 2016

North Korea threatens 'nuclear strike' against US, South Korea

Pyongyang warned the United States and South Korea not to take any “aggressive” actions during their joint military exercise, pledging to respond to any such moves with a nuclear attack against Washington and Seoul.

North Korea’s shrill threat came after the defection of a senior North Korean official, Fox Newsreported, and plans by the US to deploy a missile defense system in South Korea.

The rogue state warned that any attempt to catch North Korea off-guard would be met with a nuclear response, adding that the respective capitals of South Korea and the US would be turned into “a heap of ashes through a Korean-style pre-emptive nuclear strike”.

Despite the rhetoric, however, experts say the North Korean military lacks such far-reaching capabilities.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has, like his father Kim Jong Il, shown a flair for over the top claims and hyperbolic threats.

Nevertheless, the Korean peninsula, where 25,000 American servicemen and women are currently deployed, remains a hotspot, with fears North Korea’s increasingly desperate leadership could attempt other provocations to distract from a recent string of defections.

On Monday, South Korean President Park Geun Hye warned Pyongyang could be planning terror attacks or outright military assaults to bolster domestic morale.