The world is becoming “numb” to North Korea’s frequent missile tests, according to officials, after the nation’s top-ranking military official on Sunday threatened to nuclear strike the White House. The official cited United States human rights abuses, its “criminal backing” of Israel’s “unethical killings in the Gaza Strip” and U.S. weapons testing as reasons for the threat.
Tuesday, Adm. Samuel Locklear, in charge of American forces in Asia and the Pacific said at a Pentagon news conference that he was concerned that the world was becoming “numb” to the frequent North Korean missile tests.
North Korea fired four short-range projectiles off its east coast toward the ocean Wednesday in its latest in a series of missile and artillery tests, officials said about the latest in a series of missile and artillery tests North Korea has conducted this year. Although the North routinely test-fires missiles, artillery and rockets, the number of tests this year is much higher than previous years, according to ABC News.
A top-ranking North Korean military official on Sunday threatened a nuclear strike on the White House and Pentagon after accusing Washington of raising military tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Hwang Pyong-So, director of the military’s General Political Bureau, made the threat Sunday during a speech to a large military rally in Pyongyang on the anniversary of the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War, according to the Telegraph.
South Korea-US military recent series of drills, one including deployment of a nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier, increased the tensions.
“If the US imperialists threaten our sovereignty and survival… our troops will fire our nuclear-armed rockets at the White House and the Pentagon – the sources of all evil,” Hwang said in his speech broadcast on Monday on state television.
Several Western news outlets last year reported a statement attributed to a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman saying, the nation’s nuclear weapons “serve as an all-powerful treasured sword for protecting the sovereignty and security of the country,” and that the weapons “can not be disputed as long as the U.S. nuclear threat and hostile policy persist.”
Missiles to Hamas?
On July 26, the Daily Telegraph’s Con Coughlin published a report claiming Hamas paid the Hermit Kingdom “hundreds of thousands of dollars” for missiles and communication equipment in a deal brokered by a Lebanon-based security company.
“The story was based on information from an unnamed Western security official who reportedly told the London-based paper that ‘Pyongyang already has close ties with a number of militant Islamist groups in the Middle East,’ reports Time.the world was becoming “numb” to the frequent North Korean missile tests.
“The report has not been independently confirmed; however, it would, theoretically, make sense for both parties. Thanks to U.N. sanctions, the market for North Korean weapons is shrinking, says Daniel Pinkston, a Northeast Asia expert at the International Crisis Group.” (Time)
“The incentives are there to sell arms to earn hard currency,” Pinkston said, and amid the ongoing conflict with Israel, “Hamas has an incentive to buy.”
Many questions remain: If the report is true, when, where and how would the deal take place?
Korean Central News Agency has berated President Barack Obama and Congress for supporting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Lurking behind this propaganda is a sinister intention of the U.S. to justify its criminal acts of backing Israel driven into a tight corner by its recent unethical killings in the Gaza Strip.” It is the U.S., it said, not Pyongyang, that is the “kingdom of terrorism and chief culprit of international terrorism.”