North Korea announced Tuesday that it put all its artillery and strategic rocket units on “No. 1 combat readiness” targeting the U.S. mainland, Hawaii, Guam and South Korea. This latest in a series of escalating threats is in response to new U.N. sanctions and joint military drills by the U.S. and South Korea.
North Korea successfully launched a three-stage rocket in December as well as its third nuclear test just last month. Additionally, North Korea threatened to turn Washington and Seoul into a “sea of fire.” The U.S. maintains that North Korea has not developed long-range missiles capable of hitting the continental U.S. But the military has announced plans to add interceptors to the anti-missile system in Alaska.
How real are North Korea’s threats? What exactly is North Korea’s military capability?
Jim Walsh, Ph.D., International security expert and a Research Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program