North Korea: Kim Jong Un warns of ‘nuclear attack’ if US or South Korea provoked with nukes

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North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un watching the missile launch.
Image Source : AP North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un watching the missile launch.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned his country has a policy of not hesitating to launch a nuclear strike on a rival if provoked. Kim’s latest statement came as he praised troops involved in its recent intercontinental ballistic missile test, state media reported Thursday.

Since adopting an escalatory nuclear doctrine last year, Kim has repeatedly threatened to use nuclear weapons preemptively. But many foreign experts say North Korea has yet to obtain functioning nuclear missiles and is also unlikely to use its nukes first because it’s outgunned by the US and its allied forces.

ICBM missile test

North Korea on Monday conducted its first intercontinental ballistic missile test in five months, calling the drill a warning over confrontational US and South Korean moves. North Korea cited a recent US-South Korean meeting on boosting their nuclear deterrence plans. The North’s Korean Central News Agency said Kim met troops at the General Missile Bureau on Wednesday to congratulate them on the launch of the developmental solid-fueled Hwasong-18 missile, the North’s newest and most powerful ICBM.

During the meeting, Kim said the launch demonstrated the evolution of the North’s nuclear doctrine and strategy “not to hesitate even with a nuclear attack when the enemy provokes it with nukes,” KCNA said. Kim said peace is guaranteed by a war posture of being willing to launch preemptive strikes on the enemy anywhere to make it feel fear, KCNA said.

Last year, North Korea adopted a law that stipulates a broad range of situations in which it can use nuclear weapons. Since the beginning of 2022, it has also test-fired about 100 ballistic missiles, many of them nuclear-capable weapons targeting the US and South Korea. Monday’s Hwasong-18 launch was the weapon’s third test flight this year.

US and South Korea warn Kim

The US and South Korean governments have repeatedly warned that any attempt by North Korea to use nuclear weapons would result in the end of the Kim Jong Un government. The allies have also expanded their military training, which Kim views as an invasion rehearsal.

After the North’s latest ICBM launch, the US, South Korea and Japan began sharing real-time missile warning data on North Korea and established details of their trilateral exercises in the coming years. On Wednesday, the US flew long-range B-1B bombers for joint aerial training with South Korean and Japanese warplanes in a demonstration of strength against North Korea.

In an emergency UN Security Council meeting on Tuesday, the US, South Korea and their partners maintained that North Korea’s repeated missile launches threatened international peace and violated Security Council resolutions that ban any ballistic activities by North Korea.

Kim’s sister says she feels very unpleasant over UNSC meet

Kim’s sister and senior official, Kim Yo Jong, said in a statement on Thursday she “feels very unpleasant” over the UN council meeting, which she said was held at “the brigandish demand of the US and its satellite countries.” She said the UN council must hold the US and South Korea accountable for heightened tensions as they stage “all sorts of military provocations all year round.”

The North’s latest ICBM launch won’t likely earn the country fresh international sanctions. China and Russia — locked in separate confrontations with the US— have repeatedly blocked any UN Security Council responses to the North’s banned ballistic missile tests since last year.

(With inputs from agency)

Also Read: North Korea: Kim threatens ‘more offensive actions’ against US after powerful missile test

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