North Korea has expressed vehement disapproval towards the United States following a recent Pentagon report that categorizes the Asian nation as a “persistent” menace due to their weapons of mass destruction. The North Korean government has voiced, in no uncertain terms, its readiness to counter any acts of aggression or instigation from the U.S. with a “profound and sustained response strategy.”
The past week saw an unclassified rendition of Pentagon’s “2023 Strategy for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction” report, which outlined the challenges related to weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and the strategies to confront them. While categorically stating China and Russia as “major WMD challenges,” the report also highlighted North Korea, Iran, and violent extremist organizations as “persistent regional threats.”
Delineations of North Korea as a threat by the U.S. along with the former’s belligerent backlash have been common occurrences. However, the most recent animosity ensues amid escalating worries that North Korea is actively pursuing a weapons accord with Russia, infringing upon UN Security Council resolutions.
“The U.S. has openly disclosed its perilous design of aggression, jeopardizing the sovereignty and security of North Korea and other autonomous sovereign nations by brandishing WMDs, and manifesting its reckless aspiration for worldwide military dominance,” stated an undisclosed representative for North Korea’s Defense Ministry via state media.
North Korea’s military pledged, in no uncertain terms, to retaliate against “U.S. imperialist aggressor’s military strategy and provocations.”
North Korea’s nuclear armament program has garnered significant international attention following its enactment of a law last year, greenlighting the preemptive use of nuclear bombs. North Korea has conducted over a hundred missile trials since the onset of 2022, a substantial chunk involving nuclear-armed weapons capable of targeting U.S. and South Korea.
Last week, North Korea’s parliament ratified an amendment to their constitution incorporating the nuclear law—an overt sign of North Korea fortifying its nuclear doctrines. Kim Jong Un, the nation’s leader, during the parliament session, called for a considerable augmentation in their nuclear weapons production and urged his nation to take an active role in a faction of nations challenging the United States in a “new Cold War.”
South Korea’s Ministry of Defense, on Wednesday, cautioned North Korea, stating any attempts at using nuclear weaponry would culminate in the downfall Kim’s regime. They conveyed that including the nuclear law in their constitution would exacerbate North Korea’s global isolation and the plight of its citizens.
The Pentagon report, citing North Korea’s nuclear law, laid out its potential threat. The report also alluded to North Korea’s continuing advancement of mobile nuclear capabilities which put the U.S., regional allies, and partners at risk.
In addition to a high potential threat, the report mentioned that North Korea maintains several thousand metric tons of chemical warfare agents, capable of producing nerve, and blister-inducing agents. Possible deployment methods include artillery, ballistic missiles, and unconventional forces.
In retaliation, the U.S. and South Korea have been staging joint military drills and temporarily relocated U.S. long-range bombers and nuclear equipped submarines. Against this backdrop, North Korea has not only called for preemptive strikes but has taken steps toward boosting its nuclear program.
The North Korean Defense Ministry issued a statement arguing that the label of “persistent threat” was better suited for the U.S., citing intensified military drills with South Korea and the nuclear-equipped submarine deployment.
In September, Kim Jong Un travelled to Russia’s far eastern region, meeting President Vladimir Putin and visiting strategic military infrastructure. Both nations declared the trip aimed to strengthen their partnership, without revealing specifics.
Outside officials and experts theorize that North Korea wishes to secure sophisticated Russian technology to aid their development of spy satellites, nuclear-propelled submarines, and powerful long-range missiles in exchange for providing Russia with conventional weaponry consumed in its war with Ukraine.