North Korea is prepared to launch a preemptive nuclear strike in response to the Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint drills by the U.S. and South Korea, a Rodong Sinmun editorial said Thursday.
The editorial, entitled “Preemptive Attack, Our Choice Now” and credited to an author named Choe Chol Sun, follows other warnings by North Korean state media about the annual UFG drills and accusations that the U.S. and South Korea are planning a nuclear strike on the North.
“For all our warnings and world public denunciation the U.S. and its south Korean puppets set about a joint military exercise (Ulchi) Freedom Guardian,” the editorial said, using the lower-case “s” reflecting the belief that the two Koreas are actually one country. “The general staff of the KPA solemnly declared the readiness to mount a powerful preemptive attack any time of its choice since the U.S. and its puppets in south Korea proclaimed war on our Republic by their application of the so-called ‘tailored deterrence strategy’ to a veritable war.”
The “tailored deterrence” strategy, signed last fall by U.S. and South Korean defense officials, was designed to prepare a bilateral defense approach, employing missile defense, conventional strikes and the U.S. nuclear umbrella, against a variety of threats posed by the North. The North has regularly criticized tailored deterrence, calling it a pretext for attack on the North.
“The most positive way of countering nuclear preemptive attack would be hitting the enemy beforehand and mercilessly,” the editorial said, calling the Korean People’s Army “heroic” and saying it had proven its abilities in previous revolutionary wars and other confrontations. “Now, the KPA has grown into a strong revolutionary army equipped with both offensive and defensive means.
“Nuclear weapon is (sic) not a U.S. monopoly. We have nukes and powerful rockets.”
The editorial went on to say that the DPRK’s enemies “are gone crazy now” and “won’t come back to their senses again till they kiss the dust finally.”
North Korean state media has a history of making inflammatory statements and dramatic threats during U.S.-South Korean military drills.
“The U.S. and south Korean rulers must bear it in mind: We say what we mean,” he said. “They had better look straight into the reality and act prudently.”
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