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N Korea Warns of “Dreadful” Nuke Response If Provoked
By Staff, Agencies
The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has threatened South Korea with nuclear retaliation if provoked after Seoul highlighted its supposed pre-emptive strike capabilities against the North.
In a statement published by North Korea’s state media on Tuesday, Kim Yo Jong called South Korea defense minister Suh Wook’s recent comments about pre-emptive strikes a “fantastic daydream” and the “hysteria of a lunatic”.
She stressed that while North Korea did not want another war on the Korean peninsula, it would retaliate with its nuclear forces if the South opts for pre-emptive strikes or other attacks, which would leave the South’s military “little short of total destruction and ruin”.
It was her second angry retort to Suh’s comments in three days. On Sunday she described the remarks as “reckless” and said the South should “discipline itself if it wants to stave off disaster”.
North Korea has repeatedly warned it would be prepared to use its nuclear weapons when threatened by rivals and has accelerated the development of its military arsenal since Kim assumed the leadership more than a decade ago.
It temporarily suspended long-range and nuclear tests when then-United States President Donald Trump agreed to meet Kim Jong Un for an unprecedented series of summits.
The diplomatic initiative collapsed in 2019 and denuclearization talks have since been stalled.
Kim now appears to be returning to military brinkmanship in an attempt to extract concessions from the US, with Pyongyang carrying out a flurry of weapons tests this year. Last month the country launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile since 2017 and some experts have said a nuclear missile could be next.
Later this month, North Korea will mark the 110th anniversary of the birth of founder Kim Il Sung, Kim’s grandfather.
Typically, Pyongyang likes to mark key domestic anniversaries with military parades, major weapons tests or satellite launches.
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