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North threatens to attack South Korean president

By Park Sae-jin Posted : March 23, 2016, 10:23 Updated : March 24, 2016, 17:50

[Captured image rom YouTube]


[Captured image from YouTube]

In one of its most salient threats this year, North Korea warned Wednesday of a direct attack on South Korea's president with newly developed multiple rocket launchers or other weapons.

The threat was made by the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, Pyongyang's state body in charge of cross-border affairs, in response to South Korea's  air raid drill involving 18 combat jets and other planes on Monday.

The drill simulated a rare cross-border assault on a key North Korean facility like the office of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. For the first time, South Korea deployed its C-130H transport aircraft tasked with delivering special troops to a designated place.

On Tuesday, more than 50 warships and submarines from South Korea and the United States launched a major joint naval drill around the Korean peninsula.  The US side includes the USS John C Stennis, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, as well as submarines and guided missile cruisers, along with US and South Korean aircraft.

South Korean officials said there would be live-fire drills during the four-day maritime drill, which is part of an annual joint field training exercise launched by the allies two weeks ago.

The committee, in a statement published by Pyongyang's official KCNA news agency, slammed Monday's air raid drill as an intolerable provocation, saying it was apparently designed to attack Kim's office.

From now, North Korea will embark on a retaliatory war to eliminate South Korean President Park Geun-hye and her followers, it said, challenging Seoul not to test its patience.

"We state openly that our retaliatory war can be staged inside the Blue House (Park's residence) or in a place near it," the committee said, adding Park's office is within the range of a precision strike by the North's large-caliber multiple rocket launcher.

On Tuesday, the committee's official website, Uriminzokkiri, released video footage showing an imaginary shelling of the offices of US and South Korean presidents, which were placed in the crosshairs of aimed telescope sight and shattered like glass.

Separately, KCNA warned its new, large-caliber multiple rocket launchers are ready for their deployment to mount a precision attack on key targets across the border.

Kim has vowed to push for the launch of more long-range rockets capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

But Jeffrey Lewis at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies said in a recent article published by 38 North that Pyongyang might choose to build nuclear-armed artillery that would be difficult for Washington and Seoul to completely eliminate.

Aju News Lim Chang-won = cwlim34@ajunews.com

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