The official North Korean news agency KCNA announced on Saturday that more than 800,000 young North Koreans have volunteered to join their country’s military to fight “the US imperialists”, amid military maneuvers led by Washington and Seoul unprecedented in five years.
“More than 800,000 “young people” across the country have volunteered Friday alone” to “join the (North) Korean People’s Army,” North Korea’s official news agency KCNA said Saturday, while Seoul and Washington have been involved since the beginning. of the week in their largest joint military exercises in five years.
Determined to “ruthlessly destroy the war-obsessed,” they have joined the military to “defend the country,” the KCNA organization adds.
The official daily newspaper Rodong Sinmun posted footage of long queues of young people waiting outside what appears to be a construction site. According to the official bureau, hundreds of thousands of people have signed up in response to US military exercises that KCNA describes as an attempt to “provoke a nuclear war”.
These US-South Korean exercises, dubbed the “Freedom Shield”, began on Monday and will last 10 days. They are targeting “the changing security environment” due to North Korea’s redoubled aggressiveness, the Allies said.
North Korea, described as having “frantic” military exercises by KCNA, responded Thursday by launching an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The launch of a new short-range ballistic missile followed on Sunday, the South Korean military said. This is his fourth showdown in a week.
Our military detected at 11:05 am (0205 GMT) a short-range ballistic missile fired from near the Tongchang-ri area in North Pyongan province (northwest) towards the Baltic Sea,” said the Joint Chiefs of Staff.(JCS), referring to the Korean name for the Sea of Japan.
US and South Korean intelligence agencies are analyzing the missile, which flew 800 kilometers, the JCS said in a statement, calling the launch a “serious provocation” in violation of UN sanctions.
The missile launched toward the Sea of Japan on Thursday was a Hwasong-17, a “monster missile” according to military analysts, that theoretically has enough range to reach the United States mainland, according to KCNA.
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 United States and South Korea exercises “unforgivably accuse each other of the red line,” the official KCNA bureau said on Saturday.
Pyongyang declared itself an “irreversible” nuclear power last year and Kim recently called for an “exponential” increase in weapons production, including tactical nuclear weapons.
In early March, Kim further ordered the North Korean military to step up exercises in preparation for a “real war”.
Pyongyang is using US exercises to present its nuclear weapons program as “critical and necessary,” said Yang Moo-jin, president of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, interviewed by AFP.
Strengthening 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 the capital, Pyongyang,” he added.
In addition to joint military exercises and this week’s meeting between South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese leader Fumio Kishida, North Korea took offense at US President Joe Biden’s plans to have Yoon and his wife in the White House next month receive.
The state visit, the second of Joe Biden’s presidency, which highlights 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 tried to maintain.
In response, Pyongyang “could order extended-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, told CNN.