North Korea has once again asserted that it will use its nuclear weapons arsenal against the United States. Unlike previous statements, however, a note from the rogue state’s foreign minister on Monday insisted that North Korea is fully equipped and ready to use a nuclear weapon on the United States, not just willing to do so.
Foreign Minister Lee Su-yong insisted in a statement Monday that Pyongyang would not hesitate to use their nuclear weapons against America, and they now no longer needed to wait for their scientists to build the weapons necessary for such an attack. “In response to the US frenzied hysteria for unleashing a nuclear war, we have fully transferred our army from the form of military response to the form of delivering a pre-emptive strike and we state resolutely about the readiness to deliver a pre-emptive nuclear strike,” he said, adding that North Korea “faces the dilemma: a thermonuclear war or peace.”
It is not the first time (this month) that North Korean officials make similar threats. Most recently, the North Korean government released a propaganda video over the weekend depicting a nuclear attack on Washington D.C. The video is titled “Last Chance.”
Earlier this month, North Korean officials, through the nation’s state-run media outlets, threatened to use a hydrogen bomb on Manhattan. In February, North Korean state media identified all of the “mainland U.S.” as a nuclear target. Such threats have become more common following the January announcement that the North Korean military had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb, which was met with extreme skepticism by the world’s nuclear scientists given the small size of the quake caused by the bomb in question.
South Korean military officials report Tuesday that Pyongyang has followed up this threat with yet another projectile launch from its coast, this time hitting land but not causing any damage. “Given the trajectory and distance traveled, the military suspects the projectile might be North Korea’s new multiple rocket launcher system,” South Korean news agency Yonhap reported on Tuesday.
South Korean officials also report a marked increase in the number of drone sorties occurring on the border between the two nations. “There is a brisk pace of take-off and landing exercises involving various types of small and bigger-than-medium-size unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs),” an unnamed official told Yonhap, observing that “drone activity has increased sharply” on the border — seven or eight drone missions recorded a day. South Korean military officials are concerned that these drones will not stick to their side of the border for long.
North Korean state media has made clear that this latest round of belligerent activity is a protest against a scheduled meeting between President Barack Obama, South Korean President Park Geun-hye, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe later this week. The heads of state are scheduled to meet in Washington D.C. to discuss constructive approaches to curbing North Korean aggression. Park will meet with each head of state individually, as well, according to Yonhap. President Xi Jinping of China will also be in Washington this week and is expected to attend the larger Nuclear Security Summit.
“The U.S.-led ‘Nuclear Security Summit’ is a mockery and hypocrisy towards the public desirous of building a world without nuclear weapons,” a column in the North Korean state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper asserts. “The summit is a product of the despicable plot hatched by Obama to give the international community impression that he would immediately start the work for putting into practice the much touted initiative ‘for building a world without nuclear weapons’ made in April of 2009,” the Korean Central News Agency alleges, calling the meeting a “ridiculous confab.”
Previously, North Korea has accused South Korea and the United States of triggering their aggression through joint war games currently ongoing on the Korean peninsula, in which 300,000 troops from both nations will simulate an invasion of North Korea following the collapse of the Kim dictatorship.