After the United Nations issued sweeping sanctions against North Korea, the rogue regime is escalating its nuclear threats:
From ABC News:
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered his military on standby for nuclear strikes at any time, state media reported Friday, an escalation in rhetoric targeting rivals Seoul and Washington that may not yet reflect the country’s actual nuclear capacity.
The threats are part of the authoritarian government’s ramped-up propaganda push to signal strength at home and abroad in the face of what it portrays as an effort by South Korea and the United States to overthrow its leadership.
In a show of anger over the recent adoption of harsh U.N. sanctions over its recent nuclear test and long-range rocket launch, the North fired off short-range projectiles into the sea Thursday. Friday’s report also comes ahead of huge U.S.-South Korean war games set to start next week that the North claims are invasion preparations, and amid a much harder line from rival Seoul meant to squeeze Pyongyang.
“The only way for defending the sovereignty of our nation and its right to existence under the present extreme situation is to bolster up nuclear force both in quality and quantity,” a dispatch from the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said, paraphrasing Kim. It said Kim stressed “the need to get the nuclear warheads deployed for national defense always on standby so as to be fired any moment.”
North Korea has threatened nuclear war in the past, but it is unclear just how advanced the country’s nuclear program really is. Pyongyang is thought to have a handful of likely crude atomic bombs, but there is considerable outside debate about the state of its arsenal.
North Korean citizens in the capital, Pyongyang, interviewed by The Associated Press said Thursday, in an echo of official propaganda, they believe their country can fight off any sanctions.
“No kind of sanctions will ever work on us, because we’ve lived under U.S. sanctions for more than half a century,” said Pyongyang resident Song Hyo Il. “And in the future, we’re going to build a powerful and prosperous country here, relying on our own development.”
North Korean state media earlier warned that the imposition of new sanctions would be a “grave provocation” that shows “extreme” U.S. hostility against the country. It said the sanctions would not result in the country’s collapse or prevent it from launching more rockets.
Recent commercial satellite imagery indicates new activity, possibly preparations for a rocket engine test, at a North Korean launch site where the country fired a long-range rocket on Feb. 6, according to an analysis by the North Korea-focused 38 North website.
In another development that will anger the North, South Korean and U.S. officials were set to begin formal talks Friday on deploying a sophisticated U.S. missile defense system in South Korea.
The deployment of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, is opposed by North Korea, China and Russia. Opponents say the system could help U.S. radar spot missiles in other countries.
Here’s a video on North Korea’s increasing nuclear threats:
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