SEOUL – North Korea’s military put its “strategic” rocket units on a war footing Tuesday, with a fresh threat to strike targets on the U.S. mainland, Hawaii and Guam, as well as South Korea.
“All artillery troops including strategic rocket units and long-range artillery units are to be placed under class-A combat readiness,” the Korean People’s Army supreme command said in a statement.
The units should be prepared to attack “all U.S. military bases in the Asia-Pacific region, including the U.S. mainland, Hawaii and Guam” and South Korea, said the statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency.
Despite a successful long-range rocket launch in December, most experts believe North Korea is years from developing an intercontinental ballistic missile that could strike the U.S. mainland.
Hawaii and Guam would be also outside the range of its medium-range missiles, which would be capable, however, of striking U.S. military bases in South Korea and Japan.
The supreme command announcement came days after the South Korean and U.S. militaries signed a new pact, providing for a joint-military response to even low-level provocative action by North Korea.
The statement coincided with the third anniversary of the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel by what Seoul insists was a North Korean submarine.
Pyongyang has always denied any involvement.