North Korea’s Kim says nuclear deterrence is ready, criticizes South Yun – Reuters

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country is ready to muster its nuclear deterrent to face any US military clash, and criticized the new South Korean leader for the first time, warning that Seoul was moving towards the brink. the war.

Kim made the remarks during a speech at an event marking the 69th anniversary of the Korean War armistice on July 27, which technically left the two Koreas at war, according to the official Korean Central News Agency on Thursday.

Kim said the confrontation with the United States has posed nuclear threats since the 1950-53 war and required North Korea to fulfill an “urgent historic mission” to bolster its self-defense.

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“Our armed forces are fully prepared to respond to any crisis, and our country’s nuclear deterrent is fully prepared to mobilize its absolute power faithfully, accurately and quickly for its mission,” he said.

Kim also denounced neo-conservative South Korean President Yoon Seok-yeol by name for the first time, accusing him of threatening North Korea’s security and right to self-defense.

Yoon’s office expressed deep regret over Kim’s “threatening” remarks, saying that South Korea is able to respond “forcefully and effectively” to any provocations at any time.

“We urge North Korea once again to walk the path of dialogue to achieve substantial denuclearization and peace,” Yoon’s spokeswoman told a news briefing.

Kim’s speech came after officials in Seoul and Washington said Pyongyang had completed preparations for its first nuclear test since 2017.

South Korea’s unification minister, in charge of inter-Korean affairs, said Tuesday that there was a “possibility” that the test would take place near the armistice anniversary, although a military official said there were no immediate indications.

South Korea’s foreign minister said on Wednesday that North Korea is likely to face tougher sanctions, including measures targeting its cyber-attack capabilities, if it goes ahead with the test. Read more

In the letter, Kim said Washington was continuing its “dangerous and illegal hostilities” against the North and was seeking to justify its behavior by “demonizing” the country.

North Korea has long accused the United States of double standards on military activities and of adopting a hostile policy toward Pyongyang, saying it hinders the resumption of talks aimed at dismantling the country’s nuclear and missile programs in exchange for sanctions relief.

“The double action of the United States, which misleads all routine actions of our armed forces as a ‘provocation’ and ‘threat’ while conducting large-scale joint military exercises that seriously threaten our security, is actual theft,” Kim said. .

“This leads bilateral relations to a point where it is difficult to return to a state of conflict,” he added.

ultimate weapon

Kim also said the “warmongers” and “disgusting thugs” in the Yun administration are bent on confrontational military activities, taking advantage of weapons developments in Seoul and seeking to return US strategic nuclear assets as well as military exercises to allies.

He said that their “heinous policy of confrontation” towards the North and their “deceptive deceitful actions” are pushing the situation to the brink of war.

North Korea has in recent months tested hypersonic missiles and missiles that it says can carry tactical nuclear weapons, narrowing the time Seoul has to respond to an imminent attack.

Yoon pledged to complete the so-called “kill chain” system, which calls for preemptive strikes against North Korean missiles and possibly commanding them if an imminent attack is detected.

But Kim said this system would not be able to cover North Korea’s “ultimate weapon”.

“Such a dangerous attempt will be immediately punished by a mighty force, and Yoon Seok Yeol’s government and army will be wiped out,” he said.

Seoul’s Defense Ministry said it will continue to enhance its own capabilities and expanded US deterrence capabilities, including its nuclear umbrella, to better respond to Pyongyang’s threats.

Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said Kim’s comments appeared to be aimed at highlighting the legitimacy of weapons development and an “eye for an eye” approach toward Washington and Seoul.

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(Reporting by Hyunhyun Shin and Soo Hyang Choi) Editing by Richard Boleyn, Michael Perry and Thomas Janowski

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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