Espreso. Global

North Korea threatens nuclear strike over US display of military force in South Korea

21 July, 2023 Friday
19:33

North Korea says the deployment of a US nuclear-armed submarine near the coast of South Korea may force Pyongyang to retaliate with nuclear weapons

This was stated by North Korean Defence Minister Kang Sun Nam, Reuters reports.

According to him, the deployment of US weapons such as aircraft carriers, bombers or missile submarines in South Korea is a demonstration of US military power and may allegedly meet the criteria for the DPRK to use nuclear weapons.

The North Korean minister also accused the United States and South Korea of escalating tensions in the region, while criticising the first meeting of their Nuclear Consultative Group.

"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 the DPRK law," the statement said.

US nuclear-armed submarine in South Korea

In April, the United States and South Korea signed a historic agreement to counter the North Korean nuclear threat. Washington will now periodically deploy US nuclear-armed submarines to South Korea and involve Seoul in its nuclear planning operations.

On July 14, the two countries conducted joint air exercises involving at least one B-52H strategic bomber amid the DPRK's launch of a ballistic missile.

On July 18, the United States sent a nuclear submarine to South Korea. It arrived in the country amid talks on coordinating the actions of the allies in the event of a nuclear war with the DPRK. This is the first visit by a US nuclear-armed submarine in decades.

At the same time, North Korea condemned the Nuclear Suppliers Group for "openly discussing the use of nuclear weapons". The DPRK warned against the allies' plans to increase demonstrations of military force, including the submarine visit. In turn, White House India-Pacific Coordinator Kurt Campbell stressed that the submarine's arrival is a manifestation of the US commitment to South Korea's defence.

The White House spokesman did not name the submarine, but the South Korean Ministry of Defence confirmed the arrival of the submarine, which was identified as the USS Kentucky, Ohio class. Media reports say that this ship is capable of carrying about 150 Tomahawk missiles.

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