The Korea Herald


Defense Ministry warns NK regime over nuclear buildup

By Ji Da-gyum

Published : Oct. 4, 2023 - 14:49

    • Link copied

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attends the ninth session of the 14th Supreme People's Assembly held Sept. 26-27 in Pyongyang, in this screenshot from the country's state-run Korean Central Television on Sept. 28. (Yonhap) North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attends the ninth session of the 14th Supreme People's Assembly held Sept. 26-27 in Pyongyang, in this screenshot from the country's state-run Korean Central Television on Sept. 28. (Yonhap)

South Korea's Defense Ministry on Wednesday issued a stern warning against North Korea that any attempts to use nuclear weapons against South Korea would result in the downfall of the Kim Jong-un regime.

Seoul's warning came a week after Pyongyang's decision to incorporate its policy of bolstering its nuclear capabilities into its constitution. The decision was made during a two-day meeting of the Supreme People's Assembly, the North's rubber-stamp parliament, which was held with leader Kim Jong-un in attendance and concluded on Sept. 27.

This decision followed the adoption of a more aggressive nuclear doctrine that included the possibility of preemptive nuclear attacks in specific circumstances in September 2022.

South Korea's Defense Ministry characterized North Korea's actions as "grave threats that undermine the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the international community."

"Our military maintains the South Korea-US combined readiness posture, which ensures an overwhelming response to any North Korean aggression. Should North Korea ever attempt to use nuclear weapons, that will result in the end of its regime."

The South Korean government echoed a statement originally derived from the US National Defense Strategy, unveiled in October of last year, and most recently reiterated by President Yoon Suk Yeol during a military inspection ceremony Sept. 26.

On the same day, North Korea's Defense Ministry issued a warning against the US' recently unveiled military strategy, referring to its recent constitutional amendment as the grounds for potential military actions against the US.

The press statement was released to lash out at the US Strategy for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction on Thursday. The US Strategy was updated for the first time since 2014 to address current and emerging challenges and threats associated with WMDs.

The statement criticized the US for designating China as "the pacing challenge," Russia as "an acute threat" and North Korea as "a persistent threat."

"The actions of the US military amount to yet another serious military and political provocation against independent sovereign states," read a Korean-language statement issued by an unnamed spokesperson for the Defense Ministry.

Dismissing the US strategy, North Korea stated that the "prevailing circumstances demand the DPRK's armed forces to respond resolutely with rigorous deterrence." DPRK is the acronym of North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The statement notably highlighted the salience of the recent constitutional amendment, which provides greater detail regarding the objectives and direction of nuclear development.

"The armed forces of the DPRK will remain faithful to its honorable combat mission, as newly stipulated in the supreme law of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, in accordance with the collective will of the entire Korean people," the statement read.

"They will steadfastly confront the military strategies and provocations of the US imperialist aggressors with the most overwhelming and sustained response strategy."

The most recent press statement is one of six issued over the past five days, primarily attacking the US and United Nations. A series of press statements have been released by various spokespersons, including from the Ministry of Nuclear Power Industry and Foreign Ministry as well as Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui and other senior officials.

"The key points of these statements include a focus on solidarity against imperialism and the pursuit of independence, criticism of the US' double standards, defiance of UN sanctions against North Korea, and the legitimization of the constitutionalization of bolstering nuclear capabilities," said Yang Moo-jin, president of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.

Yang also took note of the noticeable trend in North Korea dialing up its propaganda efforts following the enshrinement of its nuclear buildup policy in the constitution and at another critical juncture.

The statements were issued amid escalating tension over North Korea's plan to launch what it claims to be a military reconnaissance satellite in October. The launch is in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. Observers have pointed out that the launch may align with the upcoming anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea on Oct. 10.

"North Korea's intensified efforts to shape public opinion demonstrate their determination not to get behind in the war of logic with the international community," Yang said.