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North Korea just threatened to nuke the White House. Here's why.

Still 2013 image from North Korean state TV shows Kim Jong Un at military exercises
Still 2013 image from North Korean state TV shows Kim Jong Un at military exercises
NORTH KOREAN TV/AFP/Getty Images

North Korea, apparently jealous that global attention has shifted elsewhere for the last few weeks, has issued yet another threat against the United States. While this one is just as improbable as all the previous threats that came before it, it's still pretty aggressive.

"If the US imperialists threaten our sovereignty and survival," military chief Hwang Pyong So said at a nationally televised speech, "our troops will fire our nuclear-armed rockets at the White House and the Pentagon — the sources of all evil."

That's right: North Korea threatened, via a military leader, to maybe nuke the White House. No, there is no chance of this happening. Firstly because North Korea lacks anything near the missile technology to move a warhead that far. But, more to point, it's because North Korea makes these threats because outlandish threats are in its interests, not because it actually has any intention of following through.

So why does North Korea make threats like this, and why is it so bellicose and hostile at all? This video explains:

Zack Beauchamp further explained North Korea's issue-scary-but-phony-threats strategy back in June when Pyongyang threatened to "mercilessly destroy" everyone involved with a silly Hollywood comedy that involves Seth Rogen trying to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong Un:

It certainly looks like yet another case of North Korea being crazy and aggressive. But this may actually be a pretty canny bit of public diplomacy by Pyongyang - and one that many Americans, by laughing at "crazy" North Korea, are unwittingly playing right into. According to North Korea expert Jennifer Lind, spewing apparently non-sensical threats at Hollywood funnymen is part of a larger, deliberate strategy to manipulate the West's view of North Korea. The more Americans point and laugh at those crazy North Koreans, the more we help them in that project.

Read more here about why North Korea loves to threaten crazy-sounding attacks it will never carry out.