North Korea Preps Rockets, Citing US 'Ultimatum'

Thousands rally against US in Pyongyang

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 29, 2013 4:24 AM CDT | Updated Mar 29, 2013 7:57 AM CDT

(Newser) – The US B-2 bomber flights over the Korean peninsula amounted to an "ultimatum," the North says—so it has put its rockets on standby, aimed at US military bases. Leaders decided late last night that "the time has come to settle accounts with the US imperialists," official state news said, per Reuters. Kim Jong Un ordered rockets "to be on standby ... so that they may strike any time the US mainland, its military bases in the operational theaters in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in South Korea."

Indeed, there has been heightened activity at the North's missile sites, South Korea's Yonhap News notes. US defense secretary Chuck Hagel said yesterday that the flights weren't meant to provoke the North and were simply part of regular exercises, the AP reports. Still, "we must make clear that these provocations by the North are taken by us very seriously and we'll respond to that," he noted, per the BBC. Meanwhile, a giant rally in Pyongyang drew thousands, including soldiers and students, who chanted "death to the US imperialists" and "sweep away the US aggressors," the AP reports.

North Koreans gather at a rally at Kim Il Sung Square in downtown Pyongyang, North Korea, Friday, March 29, 2013.
North Koreans gather at a rally at Kim Il Sung Square in downtown Pyongyang, North Korea, Friday, March 29, 2013.   (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)
University students punch the air as they march through Kim Il Sung Square in downtown Pyongyang, North Korea, Friday, March 29, 2013.
University students punch the air as they march through Kim Il Sung Square in downtown Pyongyang, North Korea, Friday, March 29, 2013.   (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)
North Korean army officers punch the air as they chant slogans during a rally at Kim Il Sung Square in downtown Pyongyang, North Korea, Friday, March 28, 2013.
North Korean army officers punch the air as they chant slogans during a rally at Kim Il Sung Square in downtown Pyongyang, North Korea, Friday, March 28, 2013.   (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)
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