Japan has joined South Korea in raising its alert levels in prospect of North Korea launching an attack.
Both countries say there are increasing signs that the North could fire off Musudan missiles any time soon. North Korean state television has also indicated that country is ready for war.
The official news broadcast told viewers that targets have been fixed and “all that remains is to press the button and our enemies will be destroyed.”
For over a month, Pyongyang has issued an almost daily series of threats to the United States and South Korea, most recently warning foreigners to leave the South due to an impending “thermonuclear” war.
But at the same time, Pyongyang has issued a statement that appears to be tinged with regret over the closure of the joint Kaesong industrial zone. It described the North-South venture as “the pinnacle of General Kim Jong-il’s limitless love for his people and brothers.”
On the streets of the North Korean capital, it appears more attention is being paid to celebrating the ruling Kim dynasty. Thursday marks the first anniversary of Kim Jong-un’s official ascent to power, although he became de-facto leader immediately after his father’s death.
Most observers say Pyongyang has no intention of igniting a conflict that could bring its own destruction but warn of the risks of miscalculation on the heavily militarised Korean peninsula.