NKorea Vows Response to Pentagon Report10/04 06:18
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- North Korea slammed the United States over a
recent Pentagon report that labeled it a "persistent" threat because of weapons
of mass destruction, saying Wednesday that it will counter any U.S. aggression
or provocations with "the most overwhelming and sustained response strategy."
Last week, the Pentagon released the unclassified version of its "2023
Strategy for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction" describing WMD challenges
and methods to address them. The report stated that while China and Russia
present "the principal WMD challenges," North Korea, Iran and violent extremist
organizations remain "persistent regional threats" that must also be addressed.
Such U.S. 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 U.N. Security
"The U.S. 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 Defense Ministry said in a statement carried by
North Korea's military will "counter the U.S. imperialist aggressor's
military strategy and provocations with the most overwhelming and sustained
response strategy," the statement said.
North Korea's nuclear program has taken on new urgency since it enacted a
law last year that authorizes preemptive 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 U.S.
and South Korea.
Last week, North Korea's parliament amended the country's constitution to
include the nuclear law, an indication that the North is further boosting its
nuclear doctrine. During the parliament meeting, leader Kim Jong Un called for
an exponential increase in 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 Defense Ministry warned in a statement Wednesday that any
attempt by North Korea to use nuclear weapons would result in the end of the
Kim government. It said North Korea's inclusion of the nuclear law in its
constitution will further deepen its international isolation and the suffering
of its people.
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 U.S. homeland and regional allies and partners at
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.
The U.S. and South Korea have been responding to North Korea's advancing
nuclear arsenal with expanded joint military exercises and temporary
deployments of U.S. long-range bombers and a nuclear-armed submarine. North
Korea calls such moves grave provocations that force it to further strengthen
its nuclear program.
North Korea's Defense Ministry said in the statement that the term
"persistent threat" is more suitable for the U.S., citing its intensifying
military drills with South Korea and the deployment of the nuclear-armed
submarine that it said carried weapons "large enough to totally destroy one
In September, Kim traveled to Russia's far eastern region to meet with
President Vladimir Putin and visit key military sites. North Korea and Russia
said the trip was meant to boost their cooperation but neither side disclosed
Foreign officials and experts believe North Korea hopes to obtain advanced
Russian technologies to help it develop spy satellites, nuclear-propelled
submarines and powerful long-range missiles in return for supplying Russia with
conventional arms exhausted by its war with Ukraine.