North Korea has dismissed protests against its increasingly belligerent use of missile testing from the United States, calling America a “nuclear criminal” and threatening “final doom” in a state newspaper column published Thursday.
“Although the Trump group are vying with each other to cry out for pressure on the DPRK, it sounds as nothing but pitiful despair of those upset by the Songun might of Juche Korea,” the article in the state-run Rodong Sinmun protested, listing remarks from President Donald Trump, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and others in the White House who have repeatedly demanded North Korea cease threatening both its neighbors and Washington. “DPRK” is an abbreviation for the name the communist Kim regime prefers for itself, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
North Korea launched a missile towards Japan on Monday, which crossed over northernmost Hokkaido island before crashing into the Pacific Ocean. It was the latest in a series of similar missile launches intended to intimidate South Korea and the United States after repeated threats Pyongyang would launch a nuclear missile at Guam, an American territory.
“The U.S. has no qualification for talking about nuclear threats from other countries as it is a nuclear criminal, who imposed nuclear disaster on mankind for the first time in the world and it is also a poser of nuclear threat to other countries to not its liking after stockpiling nukes,” Rodong‘s article argues, referring to America’s use of nuclear weapons during World War II. The article notably omits what the target of those nuclear weapons was: Japan, a nation Pyongyang routinely rails against and has most recently threatened with a bombing.
“It is self-evident that the DPRK can never stop bolstering up the nuclear deterrent under the grave situation in which no one can guess when a nuclear war may break out due to the U.S. seeking to stifle the DPRK by nukes,” the article concludes. “The U.S. more persistent moves to launch a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula would precipitate its final doom.”
The United States and South Korean militaries responded to the attack on Japan Thursday with an expansive flight over the region. South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that “four F-35B stealth jets and two B-1B strategic bombers from the United States trained with South Korea’s F-15K fighter jets over the Korean Peninsula on Thursday in response to North Korea’s continued ballistic missile launches and nuclear weapons development,” citing Seoul.
American warplanes also conducted exercises over Japan, Yonhap added, calling the move “unprecedented.”
“The U.S. did not dispatch bombers during the recently concluded exercise in hopes that the reduced scale would send a positive signal to North Korea and the region. Instead, North Korea responded to the gesture,” said Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), explaining the reason for such exercises.
The exercises occurred hours after President Trump asserted on Twitter that he would no longer seek dialogue with the Kim regime, saying, “The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!”
Mattis subsequently told reporters that diplomatic options remain on the table for solving the crisis, echoing prior comments from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that he hoped North Korea would cease its aggression long enough to allow for bilateral talks.
The latest exercises come as observers warn that there are indications at North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site that another nuclear detonation may be imminent. Satellite images of the site show various stages of preparation for a test appear complete, according to at least one South Korean lawmaker who spoke to CNN on the matter.