AUSTIN, Texas (CBS Houston) – In response to perceived threats against the city from the North Korean government, officials in Austin have said they are willing to do whatever federal officials feel may be necessary to protect civilians.
Several images recently appeared in the Rodong Sinmun, the North Korean newspaper run by the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea and the most read paper in the nation, under the headline, “Kim Jong Un Convenes Operation Meeting, Finally Examines and Ratifies Plan for Firepower Strike.”
Many have been on heightened alert after the North Korean newspaper published the photos on March 29 on the English version of their website.
“After receiving a report from [Lt.] General Kim Rak Gyom on the technical conditions of the strategic strike means of the KPA, he made an important decision,” the accompanying article noted. “He said he has judged the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the prevailing situation.”
The report added, “If they make a reckless provocation with huge strategic forces, the KPA should mercilessly strike the U.S. mainland, their stronghold, their military bases in the operational theaters in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in south Korea, he said.”
According to NK News, some text written on a map in the background of one image reads “U.S. Mainland Strike Plan,” and their digitally enhanced version of the image show missile strikes planned for areas surrounding Austin, as well as Washington D.C. and San Diego.
Austin city officials are keeping an eye on the situation.
“Our regional intelligence center has been staying apprised of the current situation,” City Manager Marc A. Ott told CBS Houston in a statement.
He added, “[W]e’re prepared to take whatever precautions our Federal partners might deem necessary.”
Other officials were less concerned with the reported threat, however.
“We know that being in the heart of the country that terrorism is an issue for us,” Chief Art Acevedo, Austin Police Department told CBS affiliate KEYE-TV. “It’s something we have to be vigilant on, but as it relates to the specific threat of them firing missiles over here, I can guarantee they don’t have the long-range capacity to hit Austin, Texas.”
In an interview with “CBS This Morning,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry asserted that Austin was on the list of cities targeted by the eastern Asian communist nation because of its rise in prominence and economic dominance over the course of the past 10 years, in tandem with the entirety of the Lone Star State.
“[O]ne of the reasons that Austin is put on the map [of potential targets] is that he put very important American cities on the map,” he said.
Perry further explained, “Economically, what has happened in Texas over the course of the last decade has made this city an epicenter for a lot of technology, a lot of economic development, and I think the individuals in North Korea understand that Austin, Texas is now a very important city in America, as do corporate CEOs and other people who are moving here in record numbers.”
The former Republican presidential candidate also said that officials “need to treat it as a very real threat.”
He added, “I’ll leave it to individuals who have better background from the standpoint of being able to say ‘Do they have a missile that has the ability to reach a city like Austin?'”