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North Korea threatens hydrogen bomb retaliation after Seoul confirms military plan

By Elizabeth Shim
North Korea threatens hydrogen bomb retaliation after Seoul confirms military plan
North Korea warned it would target Seoul with a nuclear bomb after South Korea’s defense ministry confirmed a plan to take out Kim Jong Un in the case of a North Korean nuclear attack. File Photo by Rodong Sinmun

SEOUL, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- North Korea threatened to obliterate Seoul with a hydrogen bomb a day after South Korea's defense ministry confirmed it has a military plan to remove Kim Jong Un.

Pyongyang propaganda outlet Maeari issued the strongly worded statement Thursday, charging South Korea's "senior military officials" of a plan to "destroy the North Korean leadership" and "make Pyongyang disappear off the map," Newsis reported.

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Seoul's Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation includes a strategy to target Kim in the case of a North Korean strike against Seoul, according to Defense Minister Han Min-koo on Wednesday.

North Korea's statement ridiculed the plan.

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"Do they think they can confront our republic, a nuclear power of the East, with the scrap weapons that the United States tossed them?" the statement read. "Although it is not what we want, if our enemy shows even the most minor sign, a command can be issued immediately to the Hwasong artillery unit regarding a loaded nuclear warhead ... this means our nuclear warheads can turn Seoul into a sea of fire in an instant."

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The statement added, "If a 10-kiloton hydrogen bomb is dropped at least 200,000 deaths will be incurred, 500,000 people will be injured and hundreds of thousands will be hit by radiation ... did you ever think about our nuclear warheads hitting Seoul?"

The numbers used in the North Korean statement were directly borrowed from South Korean press reports, according to Newsis.

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The propaganda outlet also said Pyongyang is developing a nuclear strike capability for a "showdown" with the United States.

North Korea's development of nuclear weapons has continued despite economic problems exacerbated by a recent flood that has left hundreds of thousands of people homeless.

South Korean Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo said Thursday at a forum in Seoul North Korea tested weapons despite the flood-related emergencies, according to Newsis.

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Hong said North Korea has fired 22 missiles in 2016 and conducted two nuclear tests.

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