Kim Jong Un, the supreme leader of North Korea, has leveled new threats against the United States and South Korea.
During a meeting with commanding officers on Sunday, Kim told his military to “thoroughly annihilate” enemy forces if provoked by mobilizing “the toughest means and potentialities without moment’s hesitation.”
He also said it is necessary to sharpen “the treasured sword,” referencing Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program, to protect national security.
In a party meeting earlier last week, Kim bared plans to launch new spy satellites and develop attack drones in 2024. He also called South Korea a “colonial subordinate state” that, in the event of a conflict, must be suppressed through nuclear and other available means.
The rhetoric drew a sharp response from South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense, which warned that attempts to launch a nuclear attack would prompt Seoul and Washington to retaliate, overwhelming North Korean forces and ending Kim’s reign.
Tensions between the two Koreas have remained high in recent years, particularly as Pyongyang ramps up its nuclear weapons activities despite international sanctions.