Photo: A crowded shopping district in Seoul, South Korea.
Image credit: TungCheung / Shutterstock

Today, an anchor from North Korea’s state-controlled KRT broadcaster warned that the region is “close to nuclear war.” According to NBC News, the threat comes just hours after the U.S. conducted a military drill in which they flew two B-1B Lancer bombers near the peninsula.

“Due to the U.S. military provocations that are becoming more explicit day by day, the situation in the Korean peninsula that is already sensitive is being driven to a point close to nuclear war,” the anchor said, as per a translation by Reuters.

But that’s not all. Other North Korean media outlets have issued similar warnings. An opinion article titled “Nuclear War Will Bring Nothing but Doom to U.S.” called the military drills “reckless action of the war maniacs aimed at an extremely dangerous nuclear war.” The article was published in the Rodong Sinmun newspaper.

And while experts agree that North Korea doesn’t yet have nuclear warheads capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, it still poses a significant risk to Seoul, the capital of South Korea. Located just 25 miles from the North Korean border, the bustling city is a huge target and well within striking range.

If worst came to worst and Seoul were nuked, an estimated 10 million people would either die or suffer the consequences of nuclear radiation. And with about 28,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, there’s no doubt that there would be American casualties as well.

But the U.S. and South Korea aren’t the only countries at risk. North Korea has also threatened to reduce Japan to ashes. According to CNN, there are about 49,000 U.S. troops stationed in Japan.

Analysts still aren’t sure what President Trump intends to do about the issue. On the one hand, President Trump has warned that a “major conflict” with North Korea could happen in the near future. But Trump has also said that he would be “honored” to meet with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, which would seem to imply that he was open to diplomatic talks.

Stay tuned for more updates on this developing story.