North Korea says the United States is pushing the Korean Peninsula to “the point of explosion” following a move by Washington to fly two of its heavy strategic bombers over South Korea in an apparent show of force against Pyongyang.
“These extremely reckless provocations of the US imperialist warmongers are pushing the situation on the Korean peninsula to the point of explosion hour by hour,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in an English dispatch on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, two US Rockwell B-1B Lancer bombers took off from an American base in the US Pacific territory of Guam and performed a low-altitude flight over the Osan Air Base near the South capital, Seoul. American and South Korean warplanes also escorted the B-1Bs during the low-speed flight, which took place 77 kilometers (48 miles) from the Demilitarized Zone border with the North.
Washington said the demonstration was “just one example of the full range of military capabilities” that the US possessed to counter potential threats from North Korea in the face of the latter’s nuclear and missile tests.
“The US imperialists keep letting their nuclear strategic bombers fly over south Korea [sic] in a bid to seek an opportunity of mounting a preemptive nuclear attack [against the North],” the KCNA further said. It said Washington was “bluffing” that these bombers were sufficient for fighting an all-out nuclear war against Pyongyang.
On Friday, North Korea confirmed it had conducted a successful “nuclear warhead explosion,” its fifth nuclear test so far and its second in the current year.
The US has been boosting its military presence in South Korea amid the missile and nuclear tests by the North. Washington and Seoul have planned to deploy the US-made Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile systems in the South.
The two Koreas have been hostile to each other since the end of their 1950-1953 war, known as the Korean War. Since then, the peninsula has been locked in a cycle of military rhetoric.
Pyongyang has pledged to develop a nuclear arsenal in what it says is a bid to protect itself from the US military.
The UN and the West have so far imposed a raft of crippling sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear and missile activities.
North Korea, however, says it will not give up on its nuclear “deterrence” unless Washington ends its hostile policy toward Pyongyang and dissolves the US-led command in South Korea.