US takes N Korea threats 'very seriously': Pentagon
WASHINGTON / SEOUL - Agence France-Presse
A North Korean man walks past propaganda posters in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Tuesday, March 26, 2013, that threaten punishment to the "U.S. imperialists and their allies." The U.S. recently tightened sanctions against North Korea after Pyongyang tested a nuclear device in February in defiance of international bans against atomic activity. AP Photo/Kim Kwang HyonThe United States takes North Korea's latest threats to strike targets on the US mainland, Hawaii and Guam "very seriously," Pentagon spokesman George Little said Tuesday.
"We are concerned by any threat raised by the North Koreans. We take everything they say and everything they do very seriously. They need to stop threatening peace -- that doesn't help anyone," Little told reporters.
'Combat-ready' N Korea threatens Hawaii, US mainland
North Korea's military put its "strategic" rocket units on a war footing Tuesday, with a fresh threat to strike targets on the US mainland, Hawaii and Guam, as well as South Korea.
The move came as South Korea marked the third anniversary of the sinking of its naval vessel "Cheonan" by what Seoul insists was a North Korean submarine.
"All artillery troops including strategic rocket units and long-range artillery units are to be placed under class-A combat readiness," the Korean People's Army (KPA) supreme command said in a statement.
The units should be prepared to attack "all US military bases in the Asia-Pacific region, including the US mainland, Hawaii and Guam" and South Korea, said the statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency.
Despite a successful long-range rocket launch in December, most experts believe North Korea is years from developing a genuine inter-continental ballistic missile that could strike the mainland United States.
Hawaii and Guam would also be outside the range of its medium-range missiles, which would be capable, however, of striking US bases in South Korea and Japan.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has spent the past few weeks touring frontline military units, monitoring live fire artillery drills and making inflammatory speeches about wiping out the enemy.