North Korea slams US for labelling it as ‘persistent threat’


North Korea slammed the United States over a recent Pentagon report that labelled it a “persistent” threat because of weapons of mass destruction, saying it will counter any US aggression or provocations with “the most overwhelming and sustained response strategy.”
The Pentagon unveiled its ‘2023 Strategy for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction’ last week, outlining challenges and strategies to tackle them.
The report stated that while China and Russia present “the principal WMD challenges,” North Korea, Iran and violent extremist organisations remain “persistent regional threats” that must also be addressed.
Such US descriptions of North Korea and the North’s angry response aren’t unusual. But the latest exchange comes as concerns grow that North Korea is pushing for a weapons transfer deal with Russia in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
“The US has just revealed its dangerous intention for aggression to seriously violate the sovereignty and security of (North Korea) and other independent sovereign states by threatening them with WMDs, and realize its wild ambition for seizing global military hegemony,” an unidentified spokesperson for North Korea’s Defence Ministry said in a statement carried by state media.
North Korea’s nuclear programme has taken on new urgency since it enacted a law last year that authorises pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons.
Since the beginning of 2022, North Korea has conducted more than 100 missile tests, many of them involving nuclear-capable weapons potentially able to target the US and South Korea. During the parliament meeting, leader Kim Jong Un called for an exponential increase in the production of nuclear weapons and for his country to play a larger role in a coalition of nations confronting the United States in a “new Cold War.”
South Korea’s Defence Ministry warned in a statement on Wednesday that any attempt by North Korea to use nuclear weapons would result in the end of the Kim government.
The Pentagon report cited the North Korean nuclear law in explaining its security threat. The report said North Korea is developing mobile nuclear capabilities that place the US homeland and regional allies and partners at risk.
The report also said North Korea maintains up to several thousand metric tons of chemical warfare agents and the capability to produce nerve, blister, and choking agents. It said North Korea’s potential chemical deployment methods include artillery, ballistic missiles, and unconventional forces.