North Korea Claims Missiles Can Reach U.S.
The statement came after South Korea’s agreement with the U.S. this past Sunday that gave South Korea the ability to increase the range of its missiles to have adequate defense against North Korea's growing nuclear capabilities.
Sunday’s agreement will permit South Korea to deploy ballistic missiles with a range of up to 500 miles. This is enough distance to reach all areas of North Korea but will not put China or Japan in any potential danger. This nearly doubles South Korea’s firing range compared to past regulations, according to The New York Times.
Lewis Branscomb, adjunct professor in the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at Univeristy of California, San Diego, said this agreement wasn't needed.
“South Koreans don’t need long range missiles to defend themselves against a neighboring country,” Branscomb said. “It is just unnecessary.”
North Korea called the agreement “a product of another conspiracy of the master and the stooge to push the situation on the Korean Peninsula to the extreme pitch of tension and ignite a war.”
North Korea's National Defense Commission released a statement that the country was prepared to counter any U.S. military threats, Reuters reported.
“We do not hide (the fact) that the revolutionary armed forces ... including the strategic rocket forces are keeping within the scope of strike not only the bases of the puppet forces and the U.S. imperialist aggression forces' bases in the inviolable land of Korea, but also Japan, Guam and the U.S. mainland," North Korea’s KCNA news agency said.
Military experts and South Korean government officials have said that the North has indeed deployed ballistic missiles capable of reaching targets as far away as Guam, The New York Times reported. However, it is still unclear to what degree these alleged missiles have been tested.
“It is a vocal plan and it is not clear if they actually have the capability,” Branscomb said. “I’m so accustomed to politicians lying that I’m sure the North Koreans are lying as well.”
To respond to North Korea’s announcement, Branscomb said that the United States should simply make it clear that we have the capability to defend ourselves.
The United States has denied any intention to strike North Korea, saying that the 20,000 troops stationed in South Korea are for defense of its ally against North Korea.
Reach Staff Reporter Emily Goldberg here.