A successful nuclear test in February and threats of direct attacks on the United States has many taking a second look at how serious a threat North Korea may be.
Pyongyang has just ordered rocket and long-range artillery forces to prepare for a strike on US military bases in Guam, Hawaii, and even the mainland of the United States. While it is dubious that North Korean missiles could actually reach the heart of the US, the Pentagon is taking the threat seriously enough to begin a renewed focus on the Missile Defense program. The Pentagon admitted in a press briefing on March 15 that North Korea has become a threat, "a little bit faster than we expected".
After North Korea's announcement today, China's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei called for calm on both sides. China is largely seen as the only country that could have any sway over North Korea. And although the Chinese regime has, on the surface, supported UN Security Council sanctions against the North, many question how seriously it has been enforcing them.
Despite threats by North Korea to turn the US into a "sea of fire," South Korea and Japan would be more concerned. Both countries are well within known North Korean missile range.
The latest provocation from North Korea came after South Korea and the US signed a new plan last Friday to defend a possible attack on the South.
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