North Korea 'burning with hatred' for US after stealth bomber missions
NORTH Korea claimed its people were "burning with hatred" for the US after Washington confirmed it had flown B-2 stealth bomber "deterrence" missions over South Korea.
The deployment of the stealth bombers was clearly meant to deliver a potent message to Pyongyang about the US commitment to defending South Korea against any aggression as military tensions on the Korean peninsula soar.
It came after the North severed its last-remaining military hotline with South Korea on Wednesday and put its rocket units on combat status with a threat to target US bases in the Pacific region.
It also emerged on Wednesday that North Korea had "Photoshopped" an image of a troop landing drill as part of Pyongyang's renewed military propaganda war.
The two B-2s, from Whiteman Air Force base in Missouri, flew the 13,000 mile (20,800 kilometre) round-trip in a "single continuous mission", dropping dummy ordnance on a target range in the South, the US military said in a statement.
"This ... demonstrates the United States' ability to conduct long-range, precision strikes quickly and at will," the statement said.
The bombers were participating in South Korean-US military exercises that have incensed North Korea, which has threatened to unleash a second Korean War and launch pre-emptive nuclear strikes on South Korea and the US mainland.
"How can we pardon the Yankees who hatched even a sinister plot to defame the supreme dignity, which we regard dearer than our own lives, not content with staging madcap nuclear war drills?" Cha Ok Chol, a Korean People's Army officer said according to the Korean Central News Agency.
An editorial put out by the KCNA described "hideous politically-motivated terrorism of the US and the South Korean puppet forces targeting the dignified social system in the DPRK".
North Korea also stated on Thursday it planned to "sweep away" America's Andersen Air Force Base on Guam, according to KCNA.
Earlier on Thursday, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told his South Korean counterpart that Seoul could rely on all the military protection the United States has to offer – nuclear, conventional and missile defence.
The US and South Korean militaries signed a new pact last week, providing for a joint military response to even low-level provocation by North Korea.
While most analysts have dismissed the bulk of the North Korean threats as rhetorical bluster, there are concerns that even a minor incident could swiftly escalate in such a volatile environment.
- Barney Henderson, Telegraph.co.uk