Kim Jong-un: North Korea ‘ready to mobilise’ nuclear deterrent

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Kim Jong-un: North Korea ‘ready to mobilise’ nuclear deterrent
Kim Jong-un: North Korea ‘ready to mobilise’ nuclear deterrent

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said his country was ready to mobilize its nuclear war deterrent and counter any US military confrontation, and criticized South Korea's new president for the first time, warning that Seoul was pushing Seoul to the brink of war.

Kim said this during a speech marking the 69th anniversary of the armistice of the Korean War on July 27, which keeps the two Koreas technically still at war, the official KCNA news agency reported on Thursday. The conflict with the United States posed a nuclear threat from the 1950 to 1953 war and required the North to fulfill the "urgent historical task" of strengthening its self-defense, Kim said.

“Our armed forces are thoroughly prepared to respond to any crisis, and our nation’s nuclear war deterrence is also fully ready to mobilise its absolute strength faithfully, accurately and promptly to its mission,” he said, according to state media.

Kim's announcement came after officials in Seoul and Washington said Pyongyang had completed preparations to conduct its first nuclear test since 2017. South Korea's unification minister, in charge of inter-Korean affairs, said on Tuesday there was a "possibility" of testing around the armistice anniversary, although a military official said there were no immediate signs of that.

North Korea likely to face stronger sanctions

North Korea is likely to face stronger sanctions including measures targeting its cyber attack capabilities if it goes ahead with a test, South Korea's foreign minister said on Wednesday.

In the speech, Kim said Washington was continuing "dangerous, illegal acts of hostility" with South Korea against the North and sought to justify its behavior by "demonizing" the country. North Korea has long accused the United States of double standards in its military activities and pursuing a hostile policy toward Pyongyang, saying it is preventing the resumption of talks aimed at scrapping the country's nuclear and missile programs in exchange for sanctions relief.

“The duplex act of the United States, which is misleading all the routine actions of our armed forces as ‘provocation’ and ‘threat’ while holding large-scale joint military exercises that seriously threaten our security, is literally a robbery,” Kim said.

“That is driving bilateral relations to the point where it is difficult to turn back, into a state of conflict”. Kim also denounced South Korea's new conservative president Yoon Suk-yeol for the first time, accusing him of threatening the North's security and right to self-defense.

“I once again make it clear that North Korea is fully ready for any military confrontation with the United States,” Kim said. In recent months, North Korea has tested hypersonic missiles and missiles it says can carry tactical nuclear weapons.