scorecardNorth Korea said the US' latest military actions 'may fall under the conditions' Pyongyang has set for a nuclear first strike
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North Korea said the US' latest military actions 'may fall under the conditions' Pyongyang has set for a nuclear first strike

Matthew Loh   

North Korea said the US' latest military actions 'may fall under the conditions' Pyongyang has set for a nuclear first strike
LifeInternational2 min read
  • On Thursday, North Korea's defense minister made a veiled threat about a nuclear first strike.
  • He said the US' latest actions could possibly fall under conditions Pyongyang set for a nuke launch.

North Korea's defense minister warned on Thursday that recent US military actions could "fall under the conditions" set by Pyongyang to launch a preemptive nuclear strike.

Kang Sun-nam made the threat in response to Washington stationing an Ohio-class nuclear ballistic missile submarine, the USS Kentucky, in Busan on Tuesday. It's the first time since 1981 that a nuclear-armed sub has been docked in South Korea.

"The US military side should realize that its nuclear assets have entered extremely dangerous waters," Kang told state media, per a translation by the Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency.

"I remind the US military of the fact that the ever-increasing visibility of the deployment of the strategic nuclear submarine and other strategic assets may fall under the conditions of the use of nuclear weapons specified in DPRK law on nuclear force policy," Kang said.

Kang accused the US and South Korea, whom he called a "military gangsters' group," of crossing a "red line."

The defense minister also blistered at a comment made by South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, who said on board the USS Kentucky on Wednesday that any nuclear provocation by Pyongyang would spell the "end of its regime."

"I seriously warn once again the US and the 'ROK' military gangsters' group daringly touting the 'end of regime' in our country," Kang said, adding that any attack on the North would be "their most miserable choice by which they will have no room to think of their existence again."

Kang's threat comes after North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un passed a new "irreversible" law in September officially permitting his government to launch a nuclear first strike.

Kim said the law would allow leaders to use nuclear weapons if an impending "fatal military attack" against an important target is detected, even if its enemies were conducting a non-nuclear attack. Pyongyang maintained at the time that nuclear weapons would only be used as a last resort.

The first strike rule stands in contrast to the longstanding nuclear policy held by the North's neighbor and ally, China, which says it will strictly only consider nuclear strikes if it was attacked with similar munitions.

Meanwhile, the US has been trying to contact Pyongyang over an American soldier who ran into North Korea during a border village tour on Tuesday without leaving an explanation.

As of Thursday evening, North Korea continues to remain silent over the incident, and test-fired two short-range ballistic missiles in response to the USS Kentucky's presence in the South.




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