This undated handout picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on February 9, 2012 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C) inspecting the Command of Large Combined Unit 324 of the Korean People's Army at undisclosed place in North Korea. (Getty Images.)
The North Korean army on Wednesday said it had approved “merciless operations" on the United States involving “cutting edge” nuclear weapons.
The General Staff of the Korean People's Army in an official statement said that U.S. “threats” would be "smashed by... cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means.”
"The merciless operation of (our) revolutionary armed forces in this regard has been finally examined and ratified,” the statement reads.
This is the latest in a string of threats aimed at the U.S.
"The moment of explosion is approaching fast," the statement said, adding that a war could break out any time (“today of tomorrow”) on the Korean peninsula.
"In view of this situation, the KPA General Staff in charge of all operations will take powerful practical military counteractions in succession," it adds.
This picture, taken by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on March 7, 2013 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C) waving to soldiers from a wooden boat as he inspects the Mu Islet Hero Defence Detachment. (Getty Images.)
The statement blames the “current crisis” on the U.S.’ decision to include nuclear-capable B-52s and B-2 stealth bombers in ongoing military drills in South Korea.
"Never has the whole Korean peninsula been exposed to such danger of a nuclear war as today," it adds.
Shortly before the Hermit Kingdom's latest threat made its way to the U.S., the Pentagon said Wednesday it will deploy a missile defense system to Guam to strengthen the Asia-Pacific region's protections against a possible attack.
The delivery of the missile shield system comes as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel labeled North Korea's recent rhetoric as a real, clear danger and threat to the U.S. and its Asia-Pacific allies. The Pentagon chief said the U.S. is doing all it can to defuse the situation.
Deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System is the latest step the U.S. has taken to bolster forces in the region in a far-reaching show of force aimed at countering the North Korean threat.
Tensions have escalated between North and South Korea in recent weeks. The communist North has vowed to increase production of nuclear weapons materials, and threatened a pre-emptive strike against the U.S.
Hagel told an audience at the National Defense University that there is a path to peace on the troubled Korean peninsula, but it doesn't include making nuclear threats or taking provocative actions.
The land-based missile defense system includes a truck-mounted launcher, tracking radar, interceptor missiles, and an integrated fire control system. The Pentagon said the system will boost defenses for American citizens in Guam, a U.S. territory, and U.S. forces stationed there.
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The AP contributed to this report. Featured image courtesy Getty Images.