North Korea threatened a nuclear strike on “the heart of the US” if it attempts to remove Kim Jong Un as Supreme Leader, As per the reports from Pyongyang’s state-run Korean Central News Agency.
The threat was in response to comments from CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who said last week that the Trump administration needed to find a way to separate Kim from his growing nuclear stockpile.
The statement comes amid heightening tension between the two nations, including a recent intercontinental ballistic missile launch showing the rogue state has the capacity to deliver a nuclear warhead as far as Alaska – as well as shows of force by the US Air Force and Navy, and recent comments by CIA Director Mike Pompeo at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado last week.
Although Pompeo did not explicitly state that regime change is on the table, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) stated that his remarks “have gone over the line, and it has now become clear that the ultimate aim of the Trump Administration … is the regime change.”
Therefore, the North Korean news agency warned that even “the slightest sign of attempt to remove our supreme leadership” will lead to a “merciless blow” with its “powerful nuclear hammer.”
North Korea’s threat comes amid an ongoing assessment from the US intelligence community that North Korea has accelerated its intercontinental range ballistic missile program.
A spokesperson for Defense Intelligence Agency declined to comment directly on a report from The Washington Post that the agency’s latest assessment concludes Pyongyang will have a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile as early as next year but admitted that Pyongyang’s missile capabilities are progressing.