North Korea has said that the United States is increasing provocations of a “nuclear war” by deploying nuclear-capable bombers to the South, warning that American nuclear assets stationed in the Korean peninsula will become Pyongyang’s “first targets for destruction” in the event of an actual conflict.
In comments published by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Friday, Pyongyang condemned the provocative US deployment of a B-52 Stratofortress strategic bomber in South Korea earlier this week, warning that the United States “military provocations are evolving to a more dangerous stage.”
The deployment of the aircraft is “a serious military move of a nuclear preemptive strike aimed at the physical elimination of our country,” it said, adding, “This is an intentional maneuver by the United States… to provoke a nuclear war.”
The statement noted, “The United States will not be unaware of the fact that the Korean Peninsula is legally in a state of war and that strategic assets contributing to the enemy's territory will be the first targets for destruction."
In related news, the US Air Force’s Pacific division announced earlier this week that the US military aimed to display Washington’s “commitment to the stability and security of the Indo-Pacific region” and also bolstered military ties with South Korea.
“2023 marks 70 years of alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea – one that has proven ironclad in the face of challenges over the many decades,” Lt. Gen. Scott Pleus, Seventh Air Force commander and US Forces Korea deputy commander said in a statement published on Monday.
Back in April, US President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol agreed on the periodic deployment of American nuclear assets to the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea has strongly condemned the deployment of US nuclear assets to South Korea, vowing to respond proportionally to the move.
Pyongyang warned that it codified a new nuclear weapons doctrine into law last September, declaring that its acquisition of the bomb was “irreversible,” while authorizing the first use of nuclear weapons if an enemy attack is “judged to be imminent.”
North Korea has been under harsh sanctions by the United States and the United Nations Security Council for years over its deterrent nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Pyongyang has ramped up its missile tests in response to persisting joint war games by the US and South Korean military forces near its territorial waters.
In 2022, it launched an unprecedented number of missiles, including its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile ever.
North Korea insists that its military’s developmental programs are purely defensive by nature; however, its adversaries maintain that the advancements are illegal under international law and raise tensions in the region.
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