Published: Sun, March 13, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

United States says North Korean submarine missing

North Korean state media boasted of the nation's right to launch a "pre-emptive nuclear attack" and issued a final warning to Washington.

The North's military said it was prepared to counter the US and South Korean forces "with an ultra-precision blitzkrieg strike of the Korean style" .

North Korea has a missing submarine, two defense officials told Fox News Friday.

The statement comes after the North warned of pre-emptive nuclear strikes at the start of the drills on Monday.

North Korea claimed Sunday that it could wipe out Manhattan by sending a hydrogen bomb on a ballistic missile to the heart of NY, the latest in a string of brazen threats.

The boat was working off the North Korean shore for a number of days when it vanished, a newspaper with close connections to the United States military says.

The U.S. mission, according to the U.S. Forces Korea webpage, is "to deter aggression and if necessary, defend the Republic of Korea (ROK) to maintain stability in Northeast Asia".

The joint military drills, in which 17,000 USA military personnel and 300,000 South Korean troops are participating, have also recently been targeted by Kim Jong Un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea.

Tensions have risen sharply on the Korean peninsula after the North conducted its fourth nuclear test in January and fired a long-range rocket last month leading to the U.N. Security Council to adopt a new sanctions resolution.

"The prevailing grave situation makes all the service personnel of the Korea People's Army (KPA) discard the patience which they have long exercised", the KPA general staff said in a statement reported by the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Kim also told the military to carry out more nuclear tests "to estimate the destructive power of the newly produced nuclear warheads and other tests to bolster up the nuclear attack capability", the agency said.

Watching the exercise, Kim reiterated an earlier threat to launch an immediate nuclear attack if the "saber-rattling" South Korea-US drills should harm "even a single tree or a blade of grass" on North Korean territory.

The carefully choreographed drill begins a much larger, eight-week series of annual joint military exercises between the USA and South Korea.

In a statement reported by state media on Saturday, the General Staff of the North's Korean People's Army (KPA) said its frontline units were prepared to strike first if they saw signs that any US and South Korean troops involved in the drills were attempting to invade.

The North's official DPRK Today media outlet apparently repeated the claim that Pyongyang has been able to develop miniaturized warheads, thus posing a threat to the United States mainland.

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