U.S. B-1B bomber over Guam
Once again, the start of a U.S. Navy-South Korea exercise has prompted threats of a warlike response from North Korea, though this time the saber-rattling words come from an obscure researcher at North Korea's "Institute for American Studies" at its Foreign Ministry rather than directly from Kim Jong-un.
Researcher Kim Kwang-hak recalled the August threat by Kim Jong-un to launch missiles near Guam in response to a previous joint exercise, which did not come to pass. This time, the researcher blamed the flight of two American B-1B bombers from Andersen AFB last week and Monday's start of a joint exercise between the U.S. and South Korean Navies for the renewed threat.
According to a U.S. Navy 7th Fleet news release, "Vessels from the United States Navy and the Republic of Korea Navy are scheduled to participate in the Maritime Counter Special Operations exercise Oct. 16-26, in the East and West Seas to promote communications, interoperability, and partnership in the 7th Fleet area of operations... U.S. Navy units participating in the exercise include USS Stethem (DDG 63), USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), and USS Mustin (DDG 89).
According to the New York Times, Researcher Kwang-hak said, "“We have already warned several times that we will take counteractions for self-defense, including a salvo of missiles into waters near the U.S. territory of Guam,” Mr. Kim, the North Korean researcher, told the North’s official Korean Central News Agency on Friday. “The U.S. military action hardens our determination that the U.S. should be tamed with fire and lets us take our hand closer to the ‘trigger’ for taking the toughest countermeasure.” the Americans before deciding when to launch an “enveloping fire” around Guam.