U.S. military bases will become a “sea of fire” if war breaks out on the Korean peninsula.
That’s the latest threat from North Korea, while South Korea says close to 700,000 American troops would be sent to the region.
“There are no limitations in the striking power of our armed force. If U.S. imperialists ignite flames of war, we will strike all their bases first and turn them into a sea of fire,” North Korean air force officer Huh Ryong told Pyongyang’s Central Radio monitored by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.
He also said his country would “thoroughly” wipe out those who aid the U.S., implying allies like South Korea and Japan, both of which host U.S. bases.
The comments came during an anti-U.S. rally by senior party, government and military officials in Pyongyang on Wednesday.
At the event, premier Pak Pong-Ju urged North Koreans to counter “U.S. moves for aggression with a decisive and merciless military strike,” reported Agence France-Presse, accusing the U.S. of seeking to disarm North Korea and bring down its system “at any cost.”
Meanwhile, a just-released South Korean defense-policy paper says the U.S. would dispatch 690,000 troops and 2,000 warplanes in the event of a serious conflict.
“The United States has a plan to send more than 40 percent of its entire Navy, more than half of its Air Force and more than 70 percent of its Marine Corps to defend South Korea,” the white paper said. “This shows the United States is firmly determined in its will to help defend the Korean peninsula.”
It mentioned 160 vessels and 1,600 additional aircraft would augment the troops and fighter jets.
Updated for the first time in four years, the brief now calls North Korea a “direct military threat,” instead of the South’s “main enemy,” which it had been using for the past decade.
The paper numbers North Korea’s army at 1.17 million troops, the fifth largest in the world. It notes the communist country has added artillery guns and multiple rocket launchers totaling 1,000 pieces in the past four years.
North Korea, which already possesses a large supply of biological and chemical weapons, has been fending off pressure by Washington to halt its nuclear weapons programs.