Hours after the chest-thumping Air Force leaders flew stealth bombers over South Korea, Kim Jong-Un has ordered North Korea's rocket units to be prepare for an attack on American bases. In the words of the country's state news agency, the 30-year-old leader "judged the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the prevailing situation." This feels a little scary, doesn't it?
Calm down. Just because Kim Jong-Un put his bombers on stand by does not mean that North Korea is about to attack the United States. Over the past few years, we've seen North Korea make empty threats time and time again, but they've remain threats. Recently, they have gotten a little bit worse. Earlier this month, North Korea threatened "a preemptive nuclear attack" on the U.S., despite the fact that it's not entirely clear if they have a rocket capable of sending a nuclear warhead across the Pacific — not that we know of anyways.
This time around, Kim Jong-Un has "signed the plan on technical preparations of strategic rockets" aimed at U.S. bases in the Pacific and the mainland itself. After the U.S. let its B-52 fly over South Korea and ahead of the call to put the rockets on stand by, North Korea threatened to "remove Anderson [sic] air force base [on Guam] off Earth." Evidently, we're all in the crosshairs now. As always, we've got big threats bellowing out of Kim Jong-Un's regime and little action to back it up. That said, we'll have to wait and see what putting the rockets on stand by actually means.
What we might want to worry about is an attack on South Korea. After North Korea abandoned its 60-year-old cease fire agreement with its neighbor on the other side of the 38th parallel, anxieties spiked. Just one stray shot could set off a war, one that would almost certainly involve the U.S. Meanwhile, North Korea is teaming up with the the despotic regimes from Iran and Syria to cause trouble to cause trouble in the United Nations. So everybody's a little bit on edge right now. Again, don't get too too anxious. This is just a natural side effect of war games
Update (10:54 p.m. EST): South Korea's Yonhap News agency reports, "Sharply increased movements of vehicles and soldiers have been detected recently at North Korea's mid and long-range missile sites … There is a combat duty readiness in effect at the North's missile units since February 26 so there is a possibility they will actually fire."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.