North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called on his country to be ready to launch a nuclear attack to deter war as he accused the U.S. and South Korea of carrying out military drills with American nuclear assets, according to state media.
Kim’s remarks, carried on state media KCNA, came after the Hermit Kingdom launched a short-range ballistic missile toward the sea on Sunday. The missile flew across the country and landed in the sea off its east coast, according to South Korean and Japanese assessments – which reported that the missile traveled a distance of about 500 miles.
Kim, who oversaw the test, said the exercises improved the military’s actual war capability and highlighted the need to ensure its readiness posture for any “immediate and overwhelming nuclear counterattack” through such drills.
KCNA quoted Kim as saying the North “urgently” needed to bolster up its nuclear war deterrence exponentially as the enemies “are getting ever more pronounced in their moves for aggression against” his country.
US AND ITS PARTNERS STAGE WARFARE DRILLS AS JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA STRENGTHEN ALLIANCE AGAINST CHINA, NORTH KOREA
“The nuclear force of the DPRK will strongly deter, control and manage the enemy’s reckless moves and provocations with its high war readiness, and carry out its important mission without hesitation in case of any unwanted situation,” Kim was quoted as saying.
KCNA photos showed Kim attending the test with his young daughter as flames roared from the soaring missile before it hit the target.
The U.S. and South Korea have for weeks been carrying out annual exercises, including air and sea drills involving U.S. B-1B strategic bombers. Both country’s respective navies and marine corps are set to kick off their first large-scale Ssangyong amphibious landing exercises in five years on Monday for a two-week run until April 3. North Korea has frequently condemned these exercises, likening them to a dress rehearsal for an invasion.
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In another dispatch, KCNA said more than 1.4 million North Koreans have volunteered to join or re-enlist in the military to fight against South Korean and US troops – up from some 800,000 enlistees reported over the weekend.
Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.