SEOUL – North Korea released on Thursday details of a hypothetical plan to attack American bases in Guam with the help of ballistic missiles, in a statement published by official news agency KCNA and signed by Lt. Gen. Kim Rak-gyom, head of North Korea’s Strategic Rocket Forces.
Appointed in the spring of 2012, Kim Rak-gyom is a four-star general (second highest rank only behind Kim Jong-un’s Marshal), who is frequently seen along with the North Korean leader in photos celebrating missile tests.
In the statement, the army said they are finalizing the plan, according to which North Korea will launch four Hwasong-12 missile that “will cross the sky above Shimane, Hiroshima and Kochi Prefectures of Japan. They will fly 3,356.7 km for 1,065 seconds (nearly 18 minutes) and hit the waters 30 to 40 km away from Guam.”
The distance corresponds to the average distance between Panghyon airport – from where Pyongyang successfully launched Hwasong-12 in May – and the waters off the north-west coast of Guam, in the direction of the American naval and air bases.
The North Korean media also published pictures of tens of thousands of citizens marching through the Kim Il-Sung Square in Pyongyang Wednesday carrying banners in defense of Kim Jong-un and criticizing the latest United Nations sanctions imposed on the country following its latest missile launches.
Pyongyang’s message Thursday adds to escalating tension between North Korea and the United States.
On Monday, North Korea had threatened to attack the US following the latest round of United Nations sanctions that were led by the US.
In response, US President Donald Trump had warned Tuesday that if Pyongyang did not stop its threats, “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
The Pentagon had also re-dispatched two of its strategic B-1B bombers, which are stationed in Guam, to the outskirts of the Korean peninsula in response to the threats.
Meanwhile, Kim Rak-gyom also criticized Trump for his harsh rhetoric and a lack of understanding of the gravity of the ongoing situation.
“Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him,” he had said.
The South Korean National Security Council called the security situation on the peninsula serious, and urged the North to stop its provocations, while reiterating that the offer of dialogue was still open.
On Thursday, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera had said in the event of a military conflict, Japan would mobilize its Aegis destroyers armed with anti-missile systems in support of its ally, the US.