Following reports that North Korea may conduct its first nuclear test since 2017, the country’s state media reported on Thursday that leader Kim Jong Un has declared that his country is prepared to mobilise its nuclear deterrent and engage in military conflict with the United States. Kim made the remarks on the 69th anniversary of the Korean War armistice on July 27, according to the official KCNA news agency. According to Reuters, Kim stated that the confrontation with the US posed a nuclear threat because it forced the North to complete an ‘urgent historical task’ of bolstering its self-defense.
‘Our armed forces are thoroughly prepared to respond to any crisis, and our nation’s nuclear deterrence is also fully prepared to mobilise its absolute strength faithfully, accurately, and promptly to its mission,’ he said. Prior to Jong Un’s speech, South Korean and American officials declared that Pyongyang had completed preparations for its first nuclear test since 2017. In his speech, Kim stated that even 70 years after the war, Washington continues to engage in ‘dangerous, illegal hostile acts’ with South Korea against the North and attempts to ‘demonise’ the country in order to justify its actions.
‘I reiterate that North Korea is fully prepared for any military confrontation with the United States,’ Kim said. The North has long accused the US of applying double standards in military activities and of having a hostile foreign policy toward Pyongyang. They claim that this undermines efforts to restart talks aimed at reducing the country’s nuclear and missile programmes in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
‘The duplex act of the United States, which misrepresents all 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 reverse, into a state of conflict’. If the test is conducted, North Korea will face additional sanctions, including steps to limit its ability to conduct cyberattacks, South Korea’s foreign minister warned on Wednesday.