North Korea claims preparing for nuclear war
North Korea further raised tensions on the peninsula Friday, as the reclusive state’s media reported that leader Kim Jong-un had commanded his military to prepare nuclear weapons for use at a "moment’s notice” -- despite new sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council this week.
According to the North’s state-run KCNA news agency, Kim’s order came during testing of a multiple rocket launcher feared to be capable of striking military targets in South Korea.
As usual, Pyongyang did not specify exactly when Kim oversaw the activity, but it is known that the country fired half a dozen missiles into the East Sea just a day earlier -- hours after the announcement of the latest UN resolution aimed at restricting North Korea’s nuclear weapon ambitions.
The North defied previous resolutions by carrying out a fourth ever nuclear test earlier this year, followed by a long-range rocket launch -- seen as a cover for ballistic missile development.
Meanwhile, Kim accused South Korean President Park Geun-hye of "playing a reckless game”, ahead of planned defense exercises involving the South and its ally the United States.
The U.S. has nearly 30,000 military personnel stationed on the peninsula -- a legacy of the unresolved 1950-53 Korean War.
Park has shifted from her trust-building policy towards a more aggressive stance on the North in recent weeks, including warning Pyongyang that it faces a regime collapse unless it changes.
Unlike the South’s democratic system, North Korea has remained under the dictatorial rule of the Kim family dynasty since the state’s foundation in the late 1940s.
But the North’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper also cautioned Friday that "the final judgment day” was approaching for Park, who it referred to as a "devil” and a "psychopath”.
A spokesperson for South Korea’s unification ministry responded by expressing hope that Pyongyang will "depart from the same old attitude of slandering our head of state with vulgar language and take a stance that improves cross-border relations”, local news agency Yonhap reported.
Last Modified: 2016-03-04 12:35:43
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