HOUSTON - An article on a website is creating a lot of buzz, claiming that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wants to attack several United States cities, including Austin, Texas.
The website NKNews.org has posted several versions of two photographs it claims were posted on the Korea Worker's Party paper, the Rodong. The website zoomed into a map in the background of the photographs. The website claims the title of the map is "U.S. Mainland Strike Plan" and that arrows on the map indicate that San Diego, Washington D.C. and the Austin area are primary targets.
Many people have wondered -- why Austin? The hashtag "whyAustin" went viral.
"Hey Kim Jong Un, Austin has the Sixth Street, not the Sixth Fleet," one person wrote.
Another person suggested Austin might be on his list because "Austin is home to U.S. strategic BBQ reserves."
"They may not have an understanding that Austin is not a military or industrial sector in the United States," attorney and former CIA officer David Adler said. "I don't know what the basis would be for striking a launch against Austin."
"They're just sounding off and they have no ability to do that," said Dr. Richard Stoll, a political science professor at Rice University.
Stoll said North Korea does not have the fire power to reach Austin some 6,800 miles away.
"It's probably some quirky thing like there's one person in the upper reaches of their government who even knows where Austin, Texas is or maybe they have been there," said Stoll. "There is obviously no strategic reason to target Austin for anything other than relating to the military, and if you were to really crude about it trying to kill a lot of Americans, of course you'd target Houston and not Austin."
"Why Austin?" asked one man at Canyon Creek Restaurant and Bar near the roundabout on Washington Avenue.
"I just think he's maybe just angry he didn't get invited to South by Southwest," said another man.
Canyon Creek is an Austin oasis in the middle of Houston. As one woman there said, "Keep Austin weird! There's nothing bad you can really say about Austin."
KPRC Local 2, the Associated Press and CNN have not been able to confirm the legitimacy of the photos posted on NKNews.org.
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