SABRE RATTLING INTENSIFYING North Korea says it has approval to use its ‘cutting edge’ nuclear weapons

North Korea says it has approval to use its ‘cutting edge’ nuclear weapons against the United States in a ‘merciless’ attack just hours after Chuck Hagel calls them a ‘clear and present danger’ 

  • The statement came from North Korean army and said it was a warning to the U.S. that it would be ‘smashed by… cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means”
  • Earlier, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the secretive state’s rhetoric was a growing concern
  • He issued the statement after U.S. stealth bomber were seen patrolling
  • Chinese soldiers and weaponry massing on border with Korean Peninsula
  • John Kerry warns that North is ‘provocative, dangerous and reckless’
  • Yongbyon nuclear site set to be restarted after being closed for six months

The North Korean Army said today it had received final approval to launch ‘merciless’ nuclear strikes against the United States.

The General Staff of the Korean People’s Army said it was formally notifying Washington that U.S. threats would be ‘smashed by… cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means,’ according to a statement published by the official KCNA news agency.

The merciless operation of (our) revolutionary armed forces in this regard has been finally examined and ratified.

‘The moment of explosion is approaching fast,’ the statement read.

The pronouncement came just hours after U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said North Korea presented a ‘clear and present danger’ to the U.S. and its allies after days of escalating rhetoric

Lining up: South Korean soldiers man the tanks at a drill near the border with neighbouring North Korea

Lining up: South Korean soldiers man the tanks at a drill near the border with neighbouring North Korea

Despite a successful long-range rocket launch in December, it is believed North Korea is years from developing an inter-continental ballistic missile that could strike the mainland United States, AFP reported.

Hawaii and Guam would also be outside the range of its medium-range missiles, but U.S. bases in South Korea and Japan may be vulnerable.

Hagel issued a statement after U.S. stealth bombers were seen patrolling the border between North and South Korea as part of military exercises which have inflamed tensions in the region.

Chinese troops have been placed on a heightened state of alert along the country’s frontier with North Korea after a series of warlike statements and actions from the pariah state.

The North today blocked South Korean workers from entering a jointly run factory zone which is one of the few signs of positive relations between the neighboring countries.

The move to bar South Koreans from going to work at the Kaesong industrial complex comes a day after North Korea announced that it would re-open a nuclear facility which has been closed for six years.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday spoke out against North Korea’s latest aggressive moves, calling them ‘provocative, dangerous and reckless’, while Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the country was a ‘growing threat’ to the world’s security.

South Korean officials said that workers were being allowed to return home from Kaesong, which is on the north side of the border.

Checkpoint: A South Korean soldier checks credentials in the middle of the traffic jam near the border

Checkpoint: A South Korean soldier checks credentials in the middle of the traffic jam near the border

 
On guard: South Korean soldiers at the nearest railway station to the border

On guard: South Korean soldiers at the nearest railway station to the border

 

 
Empty: The Kaesong factory will be unable to function without a steady stream of South Korean workers

Empty: The Kaesong factory will be unable to function without a steady stream of South Korean workers

 

 
Security: Vehicles at the demilitarised zone near the Kaesong complex, with is on the north side of the border

Security: Vehicles at the demilitarised zone near the Kaesong complex, with is on the north side of the border

If North Korea continues to deny entrance to South Korean workers, the complex would have to shut down because Kaesong factories cannot operate production lines without supplies of raw materials sent regularly by truck from the South to the North.

A South Korean manager whose company runs a factory in Kaesong was worried that buyers would drop future orders if North Korea continued to block workers and supplies from the South.

 

 

‘For some companies, today’s move must have already dealt them a blow,’ the manager said. ‘We cannot produce goods without raw material.’

Seoul’s Unification Ministry urged Pyongyang to ‘immediately normalise’ cross-border traffic in and out of Kaesong.

 
Preparing for war? A Marine from South Korea observes a line of K-55 howitzers during military drills

Preparing for war? A Marine from South Korea observes a line of K-55 howitzers during military drills

 
Troops: South Korean Marines during military drills today as it was revealed Chinese soldiers were amassing near the country's border with the North

Troops: South Korean Marines during military drills today as it was revealed Chinese soldiers were amassing near the country’s border with the North

 

 
Defence: The South has been conducting a series of drills aimed at its volatile neighbour

Defence: The South has been conducting a series of drills aimed at its volatile neighbour

Mr Kerry warned North Korea to stop provoking the South and the U.S. after weeks of threats from the secretive state and its leader Kim Jong Un.

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