Some independent sources blamed individual hackers in China for the "cyber attacks." (Photo : Reuters)
Continuing to ratchet up its aggressive rhetoric, North Korea vowed to attack U.S. military bases in Japan and on the Pacific island of Guam if it felt "provoked," the insular nation announced Thursday.
The declaration came in response to what North Korea claimed were hostile military exercises held by the U.S. and South Korea earlier in the week. Seoul and the U.S. flew B-52 bombers that took off from the targets mentioned by Pyongyang in the address. America shook off the North's suggestion that the military drills were antagonistic, responding that the measures it was taking with the South were "defensive" in light of Pyongyang's many recent and very public military demonstrations.
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If the U.S. decides to fly B-52s over the Korean peninsula again, America "will meet catastrophic end by the strong military counteraction of the DPRK," North Korea proclaimed Thursday, according to The National Post.
While the U.S. typically regards any threats from North Korea as nothing more than idle saber rattling, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced last week that he would "shift" $1 billion from a European missile shield in order to establish 14 additional missile interceptors in Alaska to address threats from North Korea and Iran.
North Korea's provocation arrives just one day after the country's young leader Kim Jong Un directed drone attack drills Wednesday on a simulated South Korean target, state-run KCNA news outlet announced. Pyongyang also claimed to have shot down a simulated cruise missile. No one is certain if Pyongyang actually has drones in its possession, but South Korean publication Yonhap News reported last year that the insular country had received U.S. target drones from Syria used in the 70s it was developing into legitimate attack drones.
Pyongyang has made a point in recent months of displaying its military brawn.
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un supervised live artillery drills March 13 near a disputed sea border Pyongyang shares with the South, targeting South Korean islands in the Yellow Sea, state news agency KCNA reported, according to NBC News.
North Korea declared "merciless" retaliation on the South and U.S. March 11, this time for the pair's joint military maneuvers, announcing it was formally ending the 1953 armistice that stopped the Korean War, and "voiding" peace treaties with Seoul. North Korea also cut off its military and Red Cross hotlines with South Korea, officially severing the hotline it shares with South Korea Monday, Seoul confirmed.
North Korea's continued defiance arrived on the tail end of weeks of provocative moves. March 8 Pyongyang announced it would attack the U.S. with a preemptive nuclear missile strike that would consume Washington, D.C. in a "sea of fire" in retaliation for allegedly stoking hostility with the U.N. sanctions. North Korea rejected the recently approved fifth round of harsher United Nations Security Council sanctions against the country, claiming they were a fundamentally flawed path toward improving relations in the region.
The U.N. voted unanimously March 7 to approve tougher sanctions against North Korea as punishment for the country's third nuclear missile test launch in February, stoking the ire of North Korea, who described America as a "criminal threatening global peace" just hours before the U.N.'s vote.