North Korea is “ready to mobilize” its nuclear deterrent in any future military clash with the US and South Korea, state media said on Thursday, quoting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Washington and Seoul have repeatedly warned that Pyongyang is preparing to carry out its seventh nuclear test — a move that the US has warned would provoke a “swift and forceful” response.
In Kim’s latest speech to mark the armistice that ended fighting in the Korean War — known as “Victory Day” in the North — he said that the country’s armed forces were “thoroughly prepared” for any crisis.
Photo: AFP / KCNA VIA KNS
“Our country’s nuclear war deterrent is also ready to mobilize its absolute power faithfully, accurately and promptly in accordance with its mission,” Kim said in a speech on Wednesday, according to Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency.
Speaking to war veterans on the 69th anniversary of the end of the 1950-1953 Korean War, Kim touted the country’s “thorough readiness” to “deal with any military clash with the United States.”
His speech came as South Korea and the US are moving to ramp up joint military exercises, which have always infuriated the North as Pyongyang — formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) — considers them rehearsals for invasion.
This week, the US military held live-fire drills using its Apache helicopters stationed in the South for the first time since 2019.
Asked about Kim’s remarks, US Department of State spokesman Ned Price said they were “not categorically different from what we’ve heard from the DPRK regime over the course of recent months and in recent years.”
“The DPRK also won’t be surprised to hear the same message from us and that is our commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan ... remains ironclad,” Price told reporters in Washington.
Kim also criticized Yoon Suk-yeol, president of South Korea, which is formally known as the Republic of Korea.
Yoon took office in May and has vowed to take a tougher stance against Pyongyang — which includes a plan to mobilize a pre-emptive strike capability.
“Talking about military action against our nation, which possesses absolute weapons that they fear the most, is preposterous and is very dangerous self-destructive action,” Kim said of the Yoon administration, which he branded a group of “gangsters.”
“Such a dangerous attempt will be immediately punished by our powerful strength and the Yoon Suk-yeol government and his military will be annihilated.”
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