Kim warns N. Korea could ‘preemptively’ use nuclear weapons

Apr 29, 2022, 6:10 AM | Updated: Apr 30, 2022, 5:51 am
FILE - In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ackno...

FILE - In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un acknowledges the officers and soldiers who took part in a celebration the 90th founding anniversary of the Korean People's Revolutionary Army, in North Korea on April 27, 2022. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)

(Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned again that the North could preemptively use its nuclear weapons if threatened, as he praised his top army officials for a massive military parade in the capital, Pyongyang, this week.

Kim expressed “firm will” to continue developing his nuclear-armed military so that it could “preemptively and thoroughly contain and frustrate all dangerous attempts and threatening moves, including ever-escalating nuclear threats from hostile forces, if necessary,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said Saturday.

KCNA said Kim called his military officials to praise their work during Monday’s parade, where the North showcased the biggest weapons in its nuclear arsenal, including intercontinental ballistic missiles that could potentially reach the U.S. homeland. The North also rolled out a variety of shorter-range solid-fuel missiles designed to be fired from land vehicles or submarines, which pose a growing threat to South Korea and Japan.

KCNA didn’t say when Kim’s meeting with military brass took place.

The parade marking the 90th anniversary of North Korea’s army came as Kim revives nuclear brinkmanship aimed at forcing the United States to accept the idea of his country as a nuclear power and remove crippling economic sanctions.

Speaking to thousands of troops and spectators mobilized for the parade, Kim vowed to develop his nuclear forces at the “fastest possible speed” and threatened to use them if provoked. He said his nuclear weapons would “never be confined to the single mission of war deterrent” in situations where the North faces external threats to its “fundamental interests.”

Kim’s comments suggested he would continue a provocative run in weapons testing to dial up the pressure on Washington and Seoul. South Korea will inaugurate a new conservative government in May that could take a harder line on Pyongyang following the engagement polices of outgoing liberal President Moon Jae-in that produced few results.

Kim’s threat to use his nuclear forces to protect his country’s ambiguously defined “fundamental interests” possibly portends an escalatory nuclear doctrine that could pose greater concern for South Korea, Japan and the United States, experts say.

North Korea has conducted 13 rounds of weapons launches so far this year, including its first full-range test of an ICBM since 2017, while Kim exploits a favorable environment to push forward its weapons program as the U.N. Security Council remains divided and effectively paralyzed over Russia’s war in Ukraine.

There are also signs that North Korea is rebuilding tunnels at a nuclear testing ground that was last active in 2017. Some experts say the North may try to conduct a new test sometime between the inauguration of South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk Yeol on May 10 and his planned summit with U.S. President Joe Biden on May 21 to maximize its political effect.

U.S. State Department deputy spokesperson Jalina Porter said the United States was aware of reports that North Korea could be preparing to conduct a nuclear test, which she said would be deeply destabilizing for the region and undermine the global non-proliferation regime,

“We urge the DPRK to refrain from further destabilizing activity and instead engage in serious and sustained dialogue,” she said, referring to North Korea by its formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Kim’s recent remarks followed a fiery statement released by his powerful sister earlier this month in which she blasted South Korea’s defense minister for touting preemptive strike capabilities against the North. She said her country’s nuclear forces would annihilate the South’s conventional forces if provoked.

Yoon, during his campaign, also talked about enhancing the South’s preemptive strike capabilities and missile defenses. He also vowed to strengthen South Korea’s defense in conjunction with its alliance with the United States.

While Kim’s collection of ICBMs has grabbed much international attention, North Korea since 2019 has also been expanding its arsenal of short-range solid-fuel missiles threatening South Korea.

The North describes some of those missiles as “tactical” weapons, which experts say communicates a threat to arm them with smaller battlefield nuclear bombs and proactively use them during conventional warfare to blunt the stronger conventional forces of South Korea and the United States. About 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in the South.

North Korea may use its next nuclear test to claim that it has acquired the ability to build a small nuclear warhead to fit on those missiles or other weapons it recently tested, including a purported hypersonic missile and a long-range cruise missile, analysts say. Smaller warheads would also be necessary for the North’s pursuit of a multi-warhead ICBM.

“Solid-fueled missiles are easier to hide, move and launch quickly, making them less vulnerable to a preemptive strike,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor of international studies at Seoul’s Ewha Womans University.

“Taken together with ambitions for tactical nuclear warheads, submarine-based launch capabilities, and more sophisticated ICBMs, Pyongyang is not simply looking to deter an attack. Its goals extend to outrunning South Korea in an arms race and coercing the United States to reduce sanctions enforcement and security cooperation with Seoul,” Easley added.

Nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang have been stalled since 2019 because of disagreements over a potential easing of U.S.-led sanctions in exchange for North Korean disarmament steps.

Kim has stuck to his goals of simultaneously developing nuclear weapons and the country’s dismal economy in the face of international pressure and has shown no willingness to fully surrender a nuclear arsenal he sees as his biggest guarantee of survival.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A woman holds a child at a clinic in Dollow, Somalia, on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022.  Somalia is in ...
Associated Press

‘So many children dying’: Somalia drought brings famine near

DOLLOW, Somalia (AP) — A man in a donkey cart comes wheeling through the dust, carrying two small, silent boys. The sky is overcast. It could rain. It won’t. It hasn’t for a very long time. Mohamed Ahmed Diriye is 60 years old, and he’s completing the grimmest journey of his life. He set off […]
1 day ago
Britain's Prime Minister Liz Truss, foreground and Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng look ...
Associated Press

UK’s Truss tries to shake off dismal start with party speech

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — British Prime Minister Liz Truss will say Wednesday that all change brings disruption as she tries to convince her Conservative Party — and the country — that the turmoil unleashed by her tax-cutting economic agenda will bring more prosperity in the end. Truss is due to close a tumultuous Conservative conference […]
1 day ago
FILE - European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, shakes hands with Albanian Prime ...
Associated Press

As Europe’s leaders meet, some fear for EU membership hopes

BRUSSELS (AP) — Leaders from more than 40 countries meeting in the Czech capital Thursday are set to launch a “European Political Community” aimed at boosting security and prosperity across the continent. But critics claim the new forum is an attempt to put the brakes on European Union enlargement. The Prague meeting is the brainchild […]
1 day ago
FILE - Ethiopian military parade with national flags attached to their rifles at a rally organized ...
Associated Press

Ethiopia, Tigray head invited to peace talks in South Africa

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The leader of Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region and the central government have been invited to peace talks in South Africa this weekend as part of a pan-African effort to end one of the world’s most overlooked wars, according to a letter seen Wednesday by The Associated Press. If Debretsion Gebremichael attends […]
1 day ago
FILE - A Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020 file photo of a Nobel medal displayed during a ceremony in New York....
Associated Press

Nobel panel to announce winner of chemistry prize

STOCKHOLM (AP) — The winner, or winners, of the Nobel Prize in chemistry will be announced Wednesday at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. Last year the prize was awarded to scientists Benjamin List and David W.C. MacMillan for finding an ingenious and environmentally cleaner way to build molecules that the Nobel panel […]
1 day ago
Local resident Ekaterina, 22, stands next to her residential building that was damaged after an ove...
Associated Press

Putin signs laws annexing 4 Ukrainian regions

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed laws absorbing four Ukrainian regions into Russia, a move that finalizes the annexation carried out in defiance of international law. The documents were published on a Russian government website on Wednesday morning. Earlier this week, both houses of the Russian parliament ratified treaties making the […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Kim warns N. Korea could ‘preemptively’ use nuclear weapons