SEOUL -- In what is becoming a daily ritual, North Korea has threatened the United States, saying it is prepared to strike with “smaller, lighter and diversified” nuclear weapons.
The statement from the North Korean military, relayed early Thursday by the Stalinist regime's official news agency, seemed aimed at rebutting assessments by U.S. intelligence that North Korea's nuclear weapons are too large and heavy to be deployed on ballistic missiles.
The U.S. has also said it doesn't believe North Korean missiles are capable of reaching the U.S. mainland or Hawaii.
Though few analysts believe that leader Kim Jong Un actually intends to attack U.S. interests or neighboring South Korea, the blistering rhetoric in recent weeks has jarred nerves and prompted new defensive measures. The United States announced Wednesday that it was sending a mobile missile defense system to Guam to protect the island, a U.S. territory that is home to a Navy base and Andersen Air Force Base.
A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the decision to send the missile interceptors to Guam was made because of growing concerns that North Korea had made improvements in the range of its ballistic missiles, possibly giving it the ability to hit the island.