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North Korea (4): Strategic Coercion + War Rhetoric = Credible Nuclear Threat..?

Washington evaluates North Korea as a credible nuclear war threat against the U.S. interests in the broader Pacific region, as Pyongyang has increased its war rhetoric for a possible nuclear attack in the continental United States:

US to send missile defenses to Guam over North Korea threat – Reuters

The United States said on Wednesday it would soon send a missile defense system to Guam to defend it from North Korea, as the U.S. military adjusts to what Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has called a “real and clear danger” from Pyongyang. At the same time, North Korea repeated its threat to launch a nuclear attack on the United States. Pyongyang said it had ratified a potential strike because of U.S. military deployments around the Korean peninsula that it claimed were a prelude to a possible nuclear attack on the North. Washington had been informed of the potential attack by North Korea, a spokesman for its army said in a statement carried by the English language service of state news agency KCNA. It was unclear how such a warning was given since North Korea does not have diplomatic ties with Washington. Experts say North Korea is years away from being able to hit the continental United States with a nuclear weapon, despite having worked for decades to achieve nuclear-arms capability. North Korea has previously threatened a nuclear strike on the United States and missile attacks on its Pacific bases, including in Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific. Those threats followed new U.N. sanctions imposed on the North after it carried out its third nuclear test in February.

North Korea THAAD 1

More importantly, international news media organizations point emphasis on possible North Korea nuclear attack against the U.S., as the Pentagon sends a missile defense system for active deployment in Guam:

North Korea reportedly OKs attack on America, US send missile defense to Guam – Middletown Press

News organizations are reporting that North Korea has approved a possible attack on the United States. In the face of escalating threats from North Korea, the Pentagon said Wednesday it will deploy a missile defense system to Guam to strengthen the Asia-Pacific region’s protections against a possible attack.  The delivery of the missile shield system comes as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel labeled North Korea’s recent rhetoric as a real, clear danger and threat to the U.S. and its Asia-Pacific allies. The Pentagon chief said the U.S. is doing all it can to defuse the situation. Deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System is the latest step the U.S. has taken to bolster forces in the region in a far-reaching show of force aimed at countering the North Korean threat. The Pentagon already has sent dispatched bombers, stealth fighters and ships. Tensions have escalated between North and South Korea in recent weeks. The communist North has vowed to increase production of nuclear weapons materials, and threatened a pre-emptive strike against the U.S.

On the other hand, it is becoming clear that the North Korean political elite is using its war rhetoric for strengthening its political position inside the country by playing the card of a possible nuclear attack against the U.S.:

Hagel says North Korean threats a ‘real and clear danger’ as US prepares to … –

North Korea escalated its provocative rhetoric on Thursday, warning that its military is authorized to wage “cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified” nuclear strikes to protect against the United States. ”The moment of explosion is approaching fast. No one can say a war will break out in Korea or not and whether it will break out today or tomorrow,” read the statement of an unnamed military spokesman.  The statement, which was carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), informs the White House and the Pentagon that “the merciless operation of its revolutionary armed forces in this regard has been finally examined and ratified.” The warlike rhetoric is the latest escalation in a series of threats from Pyongyang, which claims the joint U.S. and South Korean military exercises taking place in the South are in preparation for an invasion.

Finally, we are experiencing a step by step escalation of strategic coercion moves as Washington tries to understand the true nuclear war capabilities of North Korea, and Pyongyang is testing the results of its war rhetoric…

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