The photos appeared in the state-run Rodong newspaper and were apparently taken at an “emergency meeting” early on Friday morning. They show Kim signing the order for North Korea’s strategic rocket forces to be on standby to fire at US targets, the paper said, with large-scale maps and diagrams in the background.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered strategic rocket forces to be on standby to strike US and South Korean targets at any time (EPA)
The images show a chart marked “US mainland strike plan” and missile trajectories that the NK News web site estimates terminate in Hawaii, Washington DC, Los Angeles and Austin, Texas.
The text on the map, which shows the west coast of North America, says “Plan to hit the U.S. mainland”
The meeting of the Pyongyang’s senior military leaders was called after two US B2 bombers, flying out of bases in Missouri, carried out simulated bombing raids on North Korean targets on an island off the coast of South Korea.
“He finally signed the plan on technical preparations of strategic rockets, ordering them to be on standby to fire so that they may strike any time the US mainland, its military bases in the operational theatres in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in South Korea,” the state-run KCNA news agency reported.
A U.S. airforce B-2 Spirit stealth bomber flies over Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, South Korea
It added that the B2 test flights demonstrated Washington’s “hostile intent” and said the “reckless” act had gone “beyond the phase of threat and blackmail.”
The North’s military was placed on its highest alert level earlier this week and a hotline link with the South Korean military was severed.
North Korea has also cut the mobile Internet link for foreign visitors, only weeks after the 3G service was introduced.
Despite the increasingly belligerent rhetoric and new images emerging from the North Korean regime, analysts believe its missiles are not capable of striking targets as far away as the US mainland and are not, as yet, capable of delivering a nuclear payload.
The images of Kim surrounded by his officers and diagrams of targets in the US are designed for a domestic consumption and to demonstrate the young leader’s mastery of military affairs, experts believe.