North Korea ready to take preemptive nuclear strikes against US

Angus Walker

Former ITV News Correspondent

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un. Credit: Reuters

Sanctions, military build-up and weapons of mass destruction, but no we're not talking about this month's ten year anniversary of the war in Iraq.

Nowadays, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is the focus of US anger.

It was around a decade ago that President Bush included North Korea in his famous 'axis of evil' speech and the Obama administration seems to see the country as just as dangerous, if not more.

Especially as North Korea announced today it has the right to launch a "preemptive nuclear attack".

A more chilling threat, even set against the background of the usual blood curdling war cries which come from the North Korean state media every day.

Diplomatic retaliation for the North's nuclear test last month is due to be passed at the United Nations, a package of sanctions described as "ground breaking" by US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice.

China, North Korea's communist ally, is expected to approve the measures, which Beijing has described as "moderate".

So the whiff of compromise once again; and the actual detail sees a few more North Korean diplomats and arms companies added to the sanctions black list.

Sceptics says this will hardly scare the North Korean regime into submission.

Today Amnesty International released fresh satellite photos which claim to show that Camp 14, one of the most notorious in North Korea, has been expanded.

The prison camp in 2011 Credit: Amnesty Internationall
The prison camp in 2013 Credit: Amnesty Internationall

Along the world's most dangerous border, the DMZ, or De Militarised Zone, just north of the South Korean capital Seoul, there's a military build up ahead of major exercises by both sides.

The North announced it will scrap the armistice signed 60 years ago to end the Korean war if the US and South Korea go ahead with the war games.

The Korean conflict was never formally ended, a cease fire has kept the two sides apart since 1953.

So right now the usual tension is rising. North Korean state media today saying that the armed forces are ready for the order to go into battle.

Dennis Rodman told ABC's 'This Week' that Kim Jong-un is "a good guy to me". Credit: APTN

Meanwhile, a former Chicago Bulls basketball superstar, the eccentric Dennis Rodman, fresh back from a bizarre trip to North Korea which he described as "awesome", is offering to go back and broker a peace deal between his new "best friend" Kim Jong-un, and the White House.

As expected the US State Department is not impressed, with John Kerry apparently not keen on giving official approval to a further round of 'basketball diplomacy" with a rogue state often described as a basket-case.