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NEW: South Korea doesn't consider latest threat "new," its unification ministry says
North Korea threatens "all-out war and nuclear war" on its enemies, state news reports
"We will first target and dissolve" the mainland U.S., Hawaii and Guam, the report adds
Pyongyang has been defiant in the face of efforts to halt its nuclear program
In an added slap, North Korea has declared that it had entered a “state of war” with neighboring South Korea, according to a report Saturday from the state-run Korean Central News Agency.
“Any issues regarding North and South will be treated in accordance to the state of war,” North Korea’s government said in a special statement carried by KCNA. “… The condition, which was neither war nor peace, has ended.”
North Korea and South Korea technically remain at war since their conflict between 1950 and 1953 ended with an armistice and not a peace treaty. On March 11, the North Korean army declared the armistice agreement invalid.
This report represented Pyongyang’s latest salvo aimed at South Korea and its ally the United States. Tensions in the area have been ratcheting up for months, with North Korea remaining defiant and, in some opinions, belligerent in the face of international efforts to halt its nuclear program.
Saturday’s reports also asserted any conflict “will not be limited to a local war, but develop into an all-out war, a nuclear war.”
“We will first target and dissolve mainland United States, Hawaii and Guam, and United States military based in South Korea. And the (South Korean presidential office) will be burned to the ground,” the KCNA report said.
South Korea has not treated its neighbor’s latest threat as imminent danger.
Seoul noted scores of its personnel had entered the Kaesong Industrial Complex – a joint economic cooperation zone between the two Koreas situated on the North’s side of the border – on Saturday morning. Hundreds more were set to join them later in the day, seeming to suggest both sides were going about business as usual.
“The announcement made by North Korea is not a new threat, but part of follow-up measures after North Korea’s supreme command’s statement that it will enter the highest military alert” on Tuesday, South Korea’s Unification Ministry said in a statement.
Map appears to show U.S. targets
A day earlier, the same official North Korean news agency reported its leader Kim Jong Un had approved a plan to prepare standby rockets to hit U.S. targets in the Pacific, including in Hawaii, Guam, and South Korea.
In a meeting with military leaders early Friday, Kim Jong Un “said he has judged the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the prevailing situation,” the state-run KCNA news agency reported.
The rockets are aimed at U.S. targets, including military bases in the Pacific and in South Korea, it said.
“If they make a reckless provocation with huge strategic forces, [we] should mercilessly strike the U.S. mainland, their stronghold, their military bases in the operational theaters in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in South Korea,” KCNA reported.
Later Friday, North Korean state media carried a photo of Kim meeting with military officials. The young leader is seated in the image, leafing through documents with four uniformed officers standing around him.
On the wall behind them, a map entitled “Plan for the strategic forces to target mainland U.S.” appears to show straight lines stretching across to the Pacific to points on the continental United States.
South Korea and the United States are “monitoring any movements of North Korea’s short, middle and middle-to-long range missiles,” South Korean Defense Ministry Spokesman Kim Min-seok said Friday.
U.S. official: We’re ‘committed … to peace’
U.S. defense officials said Friday that the North’s bantering is dest