WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — North Korea has reportedly given its army final approval to launch a nuclear attack against the United States.

The Herald Sun reports that the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army said in a statement that threats by the United States would be “smashed by… cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means.”

“The merciless operation of (our) revolutionary armed forces in this regard has been finally examined and ratified,” the statement read, according to the Herald Sun.

North Korea has threatened to strike Hawaii, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas.

This latest development comes as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said North Korea’s recent rhetoric presents a real, clear danger and threat to the U.S. and its Asia-Pacific allies. Hagel added that America is doing all it can to defuse the situation.

Hagel told an audience at the National Defense University that there is a path to peace on the troubled Korean peninsula, but it doesn’t include making nuclear threats or taking provocative actions.

Hagel’s comments come as tensions continue to rise between North and South Korea, triggering a show of military strength by the U.S. in the surrounding skies and waters.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. will deploy an advanced missile defense system to Guam to protect American military bases in the Pacific from a possible North Korea strike.

The U.S. has dispatched bombers, stealth fighters and ships to the region.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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