The official North Korean KCNA news agency announced on Saturday that more than 800,000 young North Koreans have voluntarily joined their country’s army to fight “the American imperialists”, against the backdrop of military maneuvers led by Washington and Seoul and unprecedented in five years.
“More than 800,000” young people “across the country have volunteered” to “join the (North) Korean people’s army” on Friday alone, the official North Korean news agency KCNA said on Saturday. while Seoul and Washington have been engaged since the beginning of the week in their largest joint military exercises in five years.
They are determined to “ruthlessly annihilate the war-obsessed” and have joined the army to “defend the country”, adds the KCNA agency.
The official daily Rodong Sinmun posted images showing long queues of young people waiting outside what looks like a construction site. According to the official agency, hundreds of thousands of people have enlisted in response to American military exercises which KCNA describes as an attempt to “provoke a nuclear war”.
Called “Freedom Shield”, these American-South Korean exercises began on Monday and are to last ten days. They focus on “the changing security environment” due to the redoubled aggressiveness of North Korea, the allies said.
Described as “frenzied” military exercises by KCNA, North Korea responded to them on Thursday by launching an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). This was followed on Sunday by the launch of a new short-range ballistic missile, according to the South Korean army. This is his fourth show of strength in a week.
Our army detected a short-range ballistic missile fired from the vicinity of the Tongchang-ri area in North Pyongan Province (northwest) at 11:05 a.m. (0205 GMT) towards the East Sea,” he said. said the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), referring to the Korean name for the Sea of Japan.
US and South Korean intelligence are analyzing the projectile, which flew 800 kilometers, the JCS said in a statement, calling the launch a “serious provocation” in violation of UN sanctions.
The missile launched Thursday toward the Sea of Japan was a Hwasong-17, according to KCNA, a “monster missile” according to military analysts, which theoretically has enough range to reach the mainland United States.
The exercises in Seoul and Washington infuriate Pyongyang, which sees them as rehearsals for an invasion of its territory and regularly promises an “overwhelming” response.
The exercises of the United States and South Korea “blame each other for the red line in an unforgivable way”, the official KCNA agency said on Saturday.
Pyongyang declared itself an “irreversible” nuclear power last year, and Kim recently called for an “exponential” increase in the production of weapons, including tactical nuclear weapons.
In early March, Kim further ordered the North Korean military to intensify exercises to prepare for “real war”.
Pyongyang uses US exercises to present its nuclear weapons program as “crucial and necessary”, said Yang Moo-jin, president of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, interviewed by AFP.
Strengthening of the alliance between Washington and Seoul
This “spreads the idea that the US-South Korean exercises have the ultimate goal of destroying the current North Korean regime and even occupying its capital Pyongyang”, he added.
Besides joint military exercises and the meeting this week between South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese leader Fumio Kishida, North Korea took offense to US President Joe Biden’s plans to host Yoon and his wife to the White House next month.
The state visit, the second of Joe Biden’s presidency, highlighting the close ties between the United States and South Korea, will take place on April 26. Conservative Yoon Suk Yeol and his administration have made strengthening the US-South Korean alliance a foreign policy priority. Relationships that Joe Biden also sought to maintain.
In response, Pyongyang could “order longer-range missile launches, attempt to launch a spy satellite, demonstrate a solid-fuel engine and possibly even conduct a nuclear test,” Leif-Eric said. Easley, a professor at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, at the CNN.