Relations between the U.S. and North Korea have arguably never been worse. A U.S. carrier strike group is (finally) on the way to the Korean Peninsula after Vice President Mike Pence reiterated that all options were on the table in regards to North Korea (but not peace negotiations), including shooting down future test missiles. The sabre-rattling has been returned by North Korea who first stated its intention to defend itself but has graduated to threatening a preemptive strike against the U.S. and its allies in the region.
After Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. would likely be putting added pressure on North Korea regarding its nuclear program,
North Korean state-run media relayed the threat of striking first. According to Reuters:
The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, did not mince its words.
“In the case of our super-mighty preemptive strike being launched, it will completely and immediately wipe out not only U.S. imperialists’ invasion forces in South Korea and its surrounding areas but the U.S. mainland and reduce them to ashes,” it said.
The U.S. and South Korea are currently engaged in joint Air Force exercises, which North Korea believes to be invasion prep. The tensions come at an awkward time for South Korea as the country is in the midst of a presidential election that will take place in May. While it’s not entirely known what a North Korean strike might look like, South Korea is remaining vigilant and may deploy a new missile defense system.