South Korea on Monday declared a state of high alert following threats of its arch-enemy launching a missile attack around the time of the U.S. presidential elections. The U.S. presidential election occurred on Tuesday.
According to a report by The Korea Times, North Korea could fire an Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) to send a ‘strong message’ to the next U.S. president stating its denial to give up nuclear and missile development programs irrespective of international condemnations and sanctions, said military officials.
“We are closely watching every move by the North Korean military at its Punggye-ri nuclear test site and other possible missile-launching sites,” said an official from Joint Chiefs of Staff, Seoul. He also added that the South Korean military is all revved up to counter any provocative action initiated by the North.
The IRBM, identified as the Musudan a.k.a. BM-35, has an estimated range of around 3,500 kilometers, enough to reach the US Pacific territory of Guam that houses many strategic assets to back the U.S. and South Korean forces in case of conflicts that might break out on the Korean peninsula.
The U.S. forces and the South Korean military sanctioned on the peninsula have been reported of using ‘all available resources’ to keep close tabs on the North Korean missile movement.
In the meantime, the South Korean defense ministry said it won’t let the corruption scandal involving President Park Geun-hye’s ally Choi Soon-sil impact on the military’s preparedness to counter North Korea’s aggravations, a Korean publication Yonhap News reported.
As believed, Choi used her four-decade-long relationship with the president to interfere in the state’s affairs. She was arrested Thursday for fraud and abuse of power.
“All military and security matters, including the deployment of an advanced missile defense system known as THAAD, will be pushed forward as planned regardless of the scandal,” a ministry spokesman said.
The news came in light of a missile testing program that was conducted by North Korea in the northwestern city of Kusong earlier in October. The Korean dictatorship also warned that it will not hold back from developing and testing further missile programs, especially the ones in connection to nuclear weapons, as reported earlier by Morning News USA.
Speaking of its preparedness to launch a counter attack should the U.S. prepared its troops against the country, a top North Korean official said: “A preemptive nuclear strike is not something the U.S. has a monopoly on. If we see that the U.S. would do it to us, we would do it first. … We have the technology.”