October 1, 2023

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Kim in North Korea calls to prepare for a nuclear attack against the United States and South Korea

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called on the country to prepare to launch nuclear strikes at any time to deter war, accusing the United States and South Korea of ‚Äč‚Äčexpanding joint military exercises involving US nuclear assets, state media reported. KCNA said on Monday.

Kim’s remarks came as the isolated country held what the KCNA described as an exercise aimed at bolstering its “war deterrence and nuclear counterattack capability” on Saturday and Sunday to issue strong warnings against allies.

The agency said that a ballistic missile equipped with a dummy nuclear warhead flew 800 km during the exercises before hitting a target at an altitude of 800 meters, as part of a tactical nuclear attack scenario.

Kim, who supervised the test, said the exercise improved the military’s actual war capacity and highlighted the need to ensure its readiness for any “immediate nuclear counter-attack” through such exercises.

“The current situation, in which enemies are becoming more explicit in their moves of aggression against the DPRK, requires the DPRK to greatly strengthen its deterrence of nuclear war,” the KCNA quoted him as saying.

Kim was using the abbreviation of his country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“The DPRK’s nuclear force will vigorously deter, control and manage the enemy’s reckless moves and provocations with its extreme readiness for war, and will carry out its important mission without hesitation in the event of any unwanted situation,” he added.

Pictures from the Korean Central News Agency showed that Kim attended the test, again with his young daughter, as flames erupted from the flying missile before it hit the target.

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South Korea and Japan reported the launch of a North Korean short-range ballistic missile off the east coast on Sunday, the latest in a series of missile tests in recent weeks.

North Korea has reacted harshly to the joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States, describing it as a rehearsal for an invasion against it.

Allies have been carrying out several annual exercises since earlier this month, including air and sea exercises on Sunday using US B-1B strategic bombers.

The US and South Korean navies and marines are scheduled to begin their first large-scale amphibious landing maneuvers in Ssangyong in five years on Monday for two weeks through April 3.

Last month, the two countries held a tabletop exercise simulating a North Korean nuclear attack amid South Korean President Yoon Sok-yol’s push for more confidence in America’s expanded deterrence — its military capacity, especially nuclear forces, to deter attacks on its allies.

In another message, the Korean Central News Agency said that more than 1.4 million North Koreans have volunteered to join or re-enlist in the army to fight against Seoul and Washington, after a state newspaper reported just two days ago that about 800,000 people.

Coverage by Hyonhee Shin in Seoul; Additional reporting by Josh Smith in Seoul. Editing by Matthew Lewis and Chris Reese

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