SEOUL, July 11 (Korea Bizwire) – North Korea on Monday warned it will take “physical action” against South Korea and the United States over the allies’ decision to deploy an advanced U.S. missile defense system in South Korea.
North Korea’s military said it will strike the moment the two countries decide on where to place the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
“Our military is ready to ruthlessly take strikes against (the enemies) and turn them into a sea of fire if we are given orders at this moment,” it said.
It marked the communist country’s first reaction to the allies’ decision reached on Friday to set up the system in South Korea, where about 28,500 American troops are stationed.
The move is aimed at countering the North’s evolving missile threats amid concerns about the technical progress of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
Last month, it claimed the successful launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile, saying it has the capacity to strike U.S. forces in the Pacific region.
On Saturday, the North test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) off its east coast that ended in failure, according to the South Korean military.
South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo on Sunday said the THAAD system will be capable of intercepting North Korea’s SLBMs.
In March, the U.N. Security Council imposed its toughest sanctions to date on North Korea for its fourth nuclear test and long-range rocket launch in the following month.
The United States has maintained a significant troop presence in South Korea following the Korean War (1950-53), which ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, leaving the divided peninsula still technically at war.