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North Korea: Kim Jong Un warns of ‘pre-emptive’ nuclear attack

Seoul, South Korea –

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un again warned that North Korea could preemptively use nuclear weapons if threatened, as he praised his top military officials for holding a meeting. Massive military parade in the capital Pyongyang this week.

Kim expressed his “steadfast will” to continue developing his nuclear-armed army so that it could “pre- and thoroughly deter and frustrate all attempts and dangerous threats, including including the increasingly escalating nuclear threats from hostile forces, if necessary,” North Korea’s official Central News Agency said on Saturday.

KCNA said Kim called on his military officials to praise their work during Monday’s military parade, where North Korea displayed the biggest weapons of its military’s nuclear program. including intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the homeland of the United States and a variety of shorter-range solid-fuel missiles that pose a growing threat to South Korea and Japan. KCNA did not say when the meeting took place.

The parade marking the 90th anniversary of the founding of North Korea’s military comes as Kim revives the nuclear spirit to force the United States to accept his idea of ​​the country as a nuclear power and lift economic sanctions. economy is crippling.

Addressing the thousands of soldiers and spectators mobilized for the event, Kim vowed to develop his nuclear forces at “the fastest possible pace” and threatened to use them if provoked. He said his nukes would “never be limited to the sole war deterrence mission” in situations where North Korea faces external threats to its “fundamental interests.” their unidentified version.

Kim’s comments suggest he will continue a provocative weapons test to put pressure on Washington and Seoul. South Korea will inaugurate a new conservative government in May that may take a harder line on Pyongyang following the engagement policies of current liberal President Moon Jae-in.

Kim’s threat to use nuclear force to protect his country’s well-defined “fundamental interests” could imply an escalating nuclear doctrine that could cause havoc, experts say of greater concern to South Korea, Japan, and the United States.

North Korea conducted 13 weapons launches in 2022 alone, including its first full-range ICBM test since 2017, as Kim exploited the favorable environment to advance his weapons program when The United Nations Security Council remains divided and effectively paralyzed by Russia. war in Ukraine.

There are also signs that North Korea is rebuilding tunnels at a nuclear test site that last operated in 2017 in preparation for a nuclear explosion test. Some experts suggest that North Korea may attempt to conduct a test sometime between the inauguration of South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk Yeol on May 10 and his expected summit with President Moon Jae-in. US President Joe Biden on May 21 to maximize its political impact.

Kim’s recent comments follow a fiery statement by his powerful sister earlier this month in which she criticized the South Korean defense minister for the possibility of a pre-emptive strike against North Korea. and said that her country’s nuclear forces would destroy the conventional forces of the South if provoked.

Yoon during his campaign also talked about strengthening the South’s pre-emptive strike and missile defense capabilities as he vowed to strengthen the South’s defense capabilities in conjunction with its alliance with the United States. Ky.

While Kim’s ICBM collection attracts much international attention, North Korea has since 2019 also been expanding its arsenal of short-range solid-fuel missiles that threaten South Korea.

North Korea describes some of those missiles as “tactical” weapons, which experts say threatens them with smaller battlefield nuclear weapons and their use in conventional warfare to overcome conventional forces are stronger than those of South Korea and the United States, which have about 28,500 missiles. troops in the South.

Analysts say North Korea could use its next nuclear test to claim that it has created a nuclear warhead small enough to be mounted on missiles or other weapons it has tested over the past year. now, including hypersonic missiles with a purpose.

Leif-Eric Easley, professor of international studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, said: “Solid-fueled rockets are easier to conceal, move and launch faster, making them less vulnerable to pre-emptive attacks. “.

“Along with its ambitions for tactical nuclear warheads, submarine-launched capabilities and more sophisticated ICBMs, Pyongyang is not simply seeking to prevent an attack. Seoul,” Easley added.

Nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled since 2019 over disagreements over a possible US-led sanctions relief in return for North Korean disarmament steps.

Mr. Kim has always been steadfast in his goal of simultaneously developing nuclear weapons and the country’s dismal economy in the face of international pressure and is not willing to fully surrender the nuclear arsenal he sees as a guarantee of conservation. at its largest.

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