North Korea threat to attack the U.S. a stretch - KMSP-TV

North Korea threat to attack the U.S. a stretch

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There's a new threat from North Korea to attack the United States, just after the U.S. sent a strong signal of its own.

At the moment this is just a war or words, but North Korean leader Kim Jong Un placed his forces on standby to strike the United States.

A massive rally was held in Pyongyang after the U.S. dispatched B-2 stealth bombers on a nonstop, long-distance mission to the Korean Peninsula to participate in military exercises with South Korean forces. The flyover was a not-so-subtle warning to North Korea and the mercurial Kim Jong Un.

"We have to take seriously, every provocative, bellicose word and action that this new young leader has taken so far since he's come into power," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said.

Hagel said the B-2 mission was not a provocation, but it comes as North Korea continues to make progress on its nuclear program, despite a new round of sanctions by the United Nations.

While North Korea's tough talk may be designed to simply stoke anti-U.S. sentiment at home, those who watch the region closely warn that North Korea's history is troubling.

"North Korea has proven itself capable of picking fights," said Christian Whiton, a former State Department advisor from the Bush administration. "Just in 2010, they sank a South Korean naval ship and shelled a South Korean island and literally paid just about no consequence for doing that, so those types of things can just happen."

North Korea may be threatening to strike the U.S. mainland, but that may be a stretch. For now, at least, analysts do not believe the North possesses that kind of long-range missiles capability.

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