World War 3: North Korea Targets US Base in South Korea
“It’s a shame they’re behaving this way – they’re behaving in a very, very dangerous manner and something will have to be done about it,” President Trump said in a news conference following the North Korean launch.
North Korea warned Friday that U.S. forces stationed in South Korea are within striking range even if a key unit has moved to a new base located south of Seoul.
The U.S. 8th Army on Tuesday opened its new headquarters at the Camp Humphreys garrison in Pyeongtaek, a port city some 70 kilometers south of Seoul, after a decade of delay in the base relocation. It marked the end of the army’s 64-year presence at the Yongsan base in central Seoul.
North Korea’s military stationed at the truce village of Panmunjom said that regardless of the location, they cannot avoid North Korea’s ruthless firing.
“The larger the US military base is, the more effectively our military hits targets,” a North Korean military spokesman said, Yonhap news agency reported, citing the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
“If [the leadership] issues an order, our military will destroy the US imperialists with salvos of firings,” the spokesman said. “If the US sticks to reckless military confrontation despite our warning, it cannot avoid a miserable end.”
The 8th US Army Command made the move to its new base at Camp Humphreys on Tuesday, after more than a decade of planning. The $10.7 billion facility is set to become the largest continuous and most populated overseas installation, according to Stars and Stripes.
Around 80 percent of the construction is complete, and the rest is expected to be finished in the next 12 to 18 months, 8th Army Commander Lt. Gen. Thomas Vandal said, as cited by Stars and Stripes. Remaining units will be transferred once the facility has been completed.
Funding and labor for the base, which will eventually replace Yongsan as the main US military base in South Korea, has been mostly provided by Seoul.
The 8th Army Command is the commanding formation of all American Army Forces in South Korea. In total, the US maintains around 28,500 service members in the East Asian country.
Friday’s threat by North Korea comes amid increased tensions between Washington and Pyongyang, with US President Donald Trump repeatedly vowing to put an end to North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Trump reiterated that threat earlier this month, after Pyongyang launched a ballistic missile test as a “gift” for the “American bastards” on US Independence Day, July 4.
Pyongyang claimed the July 4 launch was particularly significant because it represented the first launch of a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). However, South Korean intelligence services have since stated that the North is unlikely to have the technology to build such missiles, or the facilities to test them.
Pyongyang has ignored all calls to cease missile tests and de-nuclearize and has continued to test the patience of its Asian neighbors, saying such programs are necessary to counter US aggression.
The US and South Korea agreed to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system last year, in response to Pyongyang’s development of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. THAAD is designed to intercept short, medium and intermediate-range ballistic missiles during their terminal flight phase.
The previous South Korean conservative government ratified the THAAD deal, while facing protests from people who were scared of becoming a target instead of being protected, as well as from environmentalists claiming the systems might harm natural habitats.