SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea criticized the U.S. today for positioning missile defense systems around Hawaii, calling the deployment part of a plot to attack the regime and saying it would bolster its nuclear arsenal in retaliation.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said he ordered the deployment of a ground-based, mobile missile intercept system and radar system to Hawaii amid concerns the North may fire a long-range missile toward the islands, about 4,500 miles away.
“Through the U.S. forces’ clamorous movements, it has been brought to light that the U.S. attempt to launch a pre-emptive strike on our republic has become a brutal fact,” the North’s main Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a commentary.
The paper also accused the U.S. of deploying nuclear-powered aircraft and atomic-armed submarines in waters near the Korean peninsula, saying the moves prove “the U.S. pre-emptive nuclear war” on the North is imminent.
The commentary, carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, said the North will bolster its nuclear arsenal in self-defense.
The North routinely accuses the U.S. of plotting to invade the North. But the U.S., which has 28,500 troops in South Korea, has said it has no such plan.