North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has issued a chilling warning to the West, claiming his country is ready to use its nuclear weapons against the United States and South Korea at a moment’s notice.
In new a speech, Kim also claimed the world was edging towards the brink of war, thanks to the actions of South Korea, as he launched a stinging attack on the country’s new president, The Sun reports.
He was speaking at an event to mark the 69th anniversary of the end of hostilities of the Korean War, although the two countries have never signed an official peace accord, meaning the conflict is technically still raging.
Kim claimed North Korea needed to complete the “urgent historical task” of strengthening its defences due to the nuclear threat posed by the US.
“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.
In a thundering attack on the new government in Seoul, Kim also denounced South Korea’s new president Yoon Suk Yeol by name for the first time, accusing him of threatening his country’s security and right to self-defence.
“Talking about military action against our nation, which possesses absolute weapons that they fear the most, is preposterous and is a very dangerous suicidal action,” he said.
“Such a dangerous attempt will be immediately punished by our powerful strength and the Yoon Suk Yeol government and his military will be annihilated.”
He also described his counterpart in Seoul as a “confrontation maniac”.
Retaliating, Mr Yoon’s office claimed South Korea is capable of responding “strongly and effectively” to any provocations from the communist dictatorship, describing Kim’s remarks as “menacing”.
A spokeswoman for Mr Yoon told a briefing: “We once again urge North Korea to take the path of dialogue to achieve substantive denuclearisation and peace.”
US ‘demonising’ North Korea, Kim says
It comes as officials in the US and South Korea claimed Pyongyang has completed preparations for its first nuclear test in five years.
On Tuesday, a South Korean minister said there was a “possibility” the test would be held around the anniversary of the armistice between the two Koreas.
Kim also accused the US of “demonising” North Korea to justify its own hostile policies, describing regular US-South Korea military drills as “gangster-like” activities.
He said the drills demonstrated US “double standards” because North Korea’s military activities were seen as provocations and threats.
“That is driving bilateral relations to the point where it is difficult to turn back, into a state of conflict,” he said.
North Korea has conducted at least 28 ballistic missile tests in 2022 – the most ever in a single year.
The Korean War broke out in 1950 when Kim Jong-un’s grandfather Kim Il-sung launched a disastrous invasion of the south of the country.
But North Korean propaganda claims the war was provoked by the US and South Korea.
The war ended in 1953 with a truce, but North Korea claims it was a “victory” against the US, and celebrates the anniversary every year with dancing, fireworks and military parades.
His remarks come as the isolated regime in Pyongyang faces an increasing economic crisis due to the Covid-related border shutdowns, US-led sanctions and Kim’s own disastrous policies.
Edging closer to global war
It follows a dire warning from Britain’s top security chief that the world is edging ever closer to a catastrophic nuclear war amid a range of threats to global peace.
National Security Adviser Sir Stephen Lovegrove sounded the chilling alarm as fears grow that China and Russia are upgrading their weapons of mass destruction.
He said the war in Ukraine, coupled with the secretive regimes in both Moscow and Beijing, means we are “more likely to see ‘escalation wormholes’ – sudden, unpredictable failures in the fabric of deterrence causing rapid escalation to strategic conflict”.
Speaking in Washington D.C. at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, he said nuclear war was averted during the Cold War only because the Soviet Union and NATO were able to speak to each other with a mutual understanding – something he said does not exist today.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission