North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has said his country is ready to deploy nuclear dissuasion forces in a military confrontation with the US and South Korea.
“Our country’s nuclear dissuasion forces are also ready to unleash their absolute power in a reliable, precise, and swift manner,” Kim Jong-un said in a speech in Pyongyang. The military is “perfectly prepared” for any military confrontation with the United States, he said in the speech to veterans of the Korean War (1950-1953).
In June, the US and South Korea threatened more sanctions and even a review of military presence in the event of another nuclear test by North Korea. This week, the US military held target practice in South Korea, including Apache attack helicopters, for the first time since 2019.
The North Korean leader also criticized new South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who has been in power since May and had promised to be tougher on the neighbouring country. “Speaking of a military action against our nation, which possesses weapons they fear most, is absurd and a very dangerous act of self-destructiveness,” he said. According to him, the military would immediately respond to such a “dangerous attempt, and the government of Yoon Suk-yeol and his army would be destroyed.”
According to Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, the North Korean leader’s rhetoric needs “foreign threats” to justify his regime, which focuses on military spending in a troubled economy. “North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic programs violate international law, but Kim is trying to portray his destabilizing weapons development as a legitimate attempt at self-defence.”