North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un gave a heated speech on Wednesday targeting the U.S. and South Korea with threats of nuclear warfare in the event of armed conflict with either nation.
State-owned North Korean media issued reports of the speech in which Kim addressed war veterans on the 69th anniversary of the cease-fire that ended open warfare in the 1950-53 Korean War.
Kim’s speech appeared to be an effort to unite his impoverished nation around a military message amid significant setbacks following the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the North Korean military is “completely prepared to respond to any crisis,” adding that its nuclear war deterrent is “ready to mobilize its absolute power dutifully, exactly and swiftly in accordance with its mission.”
He struck at the Biden administration and the U.S. military for “demonizing” his country. He criticized America for engaging in military exercises with South Korea, describing the U.S. as employing “gangster-like double standards.”
He blamed South Korea and the U.S. for accusing his nation of provoking border tensions when he orders normal military exercises. Kim was apparently referring to his recent tests of intercontinental ballistic missile systems and the development of nuclear devices.
American and South Korean intelligence officials have recently issued warnings that the North Korean military is poised to conduct its first test of a nuclear weapon since 2017.
Kim used the “gangster” description again when he further described South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol as a “confrontation maniac.” Yoon has been active in modernizing and strengthening the South’s military and U.S. alliance in response to the nuclear threat from the North.
Kim brazenly warned the South and the U.S. that thoughts of military action against North Korea is “preposterous” and a “very dangerous suicidal action.” He went on to boast about possessing “absolute weapons that they fear the most.”
He told Yeol that any attempt to engage with the North militarily would see his “government and his military be annihilated.”
This week’s speech follows similar incendiary language used by Kim in April when he warned that he would use his nuclear weapons in a preemptive strike against South Korea if he is threatened.
Since the beginning of the Biden administration, Kim has said that he will refuse to enter into any diplomatic discussions with the U.S. or South Korea unless both nations “abandon hostile policies on the North.”