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North Korea's Kim orders military to 'thoroughly annihilate' US, South Korea if provoked

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a speech during a year-end plenary meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party, which was held between Dec. 26, and Dec. 30, 2023
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a speech during a year-end plenary meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party, which was held between Dec. 26, and Dec. 30, 2023 Copyright Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP
Copyright Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP
By AP
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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his military must use all available means including nuclear weapons to “suppress the whole territory of South Korea” in the event of a conflict.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his military should “thoroughly annihilate” the United States and South Korea if provoked, state media reported Monday. 

This came after he vowed to boost national defense to cope with what he called an unprecedented U.S.-led confrontation.

In a five-day major ruling party meeting last week, Kim said he will launch three more military spy satellites, produce more nuclear materials and develop attack drones this year in what observers say is an attempt to increase his leverage in future diplomacy with the U.S.

In a meeting Sunday with commanding army officers, Kim said it is urgent to sharpen “the treasured sword” to safeguard national security, an apparent reference to his country’s nuclear weapons program. 

He cited “the U.S. and other hostile forces’ military confrontation moves,” according to the official Korean Central News Agency.

Kim stressed that “our army should deal a deadly blow to thoroughly annihilate them by mobilizing all the toughest means and potentialities without moment’s hesitation” if they opt for military confrontation and provocations against North Korea, KCNA said.

In his New Year’s Day address Monday, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said he will strengthen his military's preemptive strike, missile defense and retaliatory capabilities in response to the North Korean nuclear threat.

“The Republic of Korea is building genuine, lasting peace through strength, not a submissive peace that is dependent on the goodwill of the adversary,” Yoon said, using South Korea's official name.

At the party meeting, Kim called South Korea “a hemiplegic malformation and colonial subordinate state” whose society is “tainted by Yankee culture.” 

He said his military must use all available means including nuclear weapons to “suppress the whole territory of South Korea” in the event of a conflict.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry warned in response that if North Korea attempts to use nuclear weapons, South Korean and U.S. forces will punish it overwhelmingly, resulting in the end of the Kim government.

KCNA said North Korean officials held talks on Monday to implement an order by Kim to disband or reform organizations handling relations with South Korea to fundamentally change the principle and direction of the North's struggle against the South. 

There was no immediate explanation of how that might alter inter-Korean relations, which have been stalled for an extended period.

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