Updated April 13th, 2024 at 01:25 IST

‘Now is Time to Be Ready For War’: North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un As Tension Escalates With Rivals

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has said that now is the time to be more prepared for war citing the unstable geopolitical situations surrounding his country.

Reported by: Digital Desk
‘Now is Time to Be Ready For War’: North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un Stirs Tension | Image:AP
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Pyongyang: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has stated that now is the time to be more prepared for war citing the unstable geopolitical situations surrounding his country. Kim Jong Un’s statement reportedly came up amid North Korea’s tensions with rivals South Korea and the United States are on the rise as the two countries continue to hold joint military drills. Reports by the state-controlled media KCNA suggest that the remark by the North Korean leader came up during his visit to a military university on Thursday.

Earlier, while inspecting the military university, Kim Jong Un gave field guidance at Kim Jong Il University of Military and Politics, named after his father who died in 2011. According to the information, it is the highest seat of military education in the country.

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Addressing the university staff and students, Kim said, "If the enemy opts for a military confrontation with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the DPRK will deal a death blow to the enemy without hesitation by mobilising all means in its possession."

North Korea has stepped up weapons development in recent years under Kim and has forged closer military and political ties with Russia, allegedly aiding Moscow in its war with Ukraine in return for help with strategic military projects.

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"Outlining the complicated international situation and the uncertain and unstable military and political situation around the DPRK, he said that now is the time to be more thoroughly prepared for a war than ever before," KCNA said. North Korea has stepped up weapons development in recent years under Kim and has forged closer military and political ties with Russia, allegedly aiding Moscow in its war with Ukraine in return for help with strategic military projects.

North Korea accuses South Korea, US for escalating tension

North Korea has accused the United States and South Korea of provoking military tensions by conducting what it called "war manoeuvres" as the allies have conducted military drills with greater intensity and scale in recent months. Last week, Pyongyang said it had tested a new hypersonic intermediate-range missile powered with solid propellants, the latest in its series of weapons tests as part of nuclear war preparations against its neighbours and the United States.

The United States and South Korea have responded by expanding their combined training and trilateral drills involving Japan and sharpening their deterrence strategies built around strategic US assets. The countries have also warned that they would swiftly retaliate against any attack by North Korea as it ramps up its nuclear rhetoric, further flaring up tensions.

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Last week, hours after the launch of North Korea's missile, Seoul’s Defense Ministry announced that South Korea, the United States and Japan conducted a combined aerial exercise above waters near Jeju island that involved at least one nuclear-capable US B-52 bomber. The US has been increasing its deployment of strategic assets to the region, also including aircraft carriers and missile-firing submarines, in a show of force against North Korea, in recent months.

Moreover, South Korea has launched its second military spy satellite into space, days after North Korea reaffirmed its plan to launch multiple reconnaissance satellites this year. The Koreas each launched their first spy satellites last year – North Korea in November and South Korea in December — amid heightened animosities. Under a contract with SpaceX, South Korea was to launch five spy satellites by 2025.

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North Korea has been testing hypersonic missiles

Notably, Pyongyang has been testing hypersonic missiles to fly at the speed of sound since 2021 and these systems can pose a challenge to regional missile defense systems because of their speed and maneuverability if perfected. However, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff accused North Korea of exaggerating the flight performance of the missile launched last week, although acknowledging that the North’s technologies were improving.

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“Hypersonic missiles are weapons systems that are still being developed by advanced nations (the United States, China and Russia etc.) and they require highly difficult technologies,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a text message to reporters. “It’s difficult to predict when they will be deployed operationally, but it’s expected to take a considerable amount of time.”

Last month, North Korea fired multiple short-range ballistic missiles as part of its renewed weapons test, raising tensions after the conclusion of US-South Korean military drills. The launches were North Korea's first known missile testing activities in about a month. Experts predicted earlier that North Korea would extend its run of missile tests and intensify its warlike rhetoric ahead of the US presidential election in November to boost its leverage in future diplomacy.
 

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Published April 13th, 2024 at 01:25 IST