North Korea said their only option is to “counter nuclear with nuclear” in a report released by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday.
According to the report, the DPRK was the only country in Northeast Asia without nuclear weapons, but that “nuclear imbalance” has been brought to an end.
“…the root cause of aggravation of the situation on the Korean peninsula lies in the U.S. hostile policy and nuclear threats against the DPRK and the dark cloud of a nuclear war can never be cleared away from the Korean peninsula unless the U.S. withdraws its hostile policy that treats the DPRK as an enemy and a belligerent state,” the report said.
The report, which fell on the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, harshly criticized the United States, South Korea, and their allies. It went on to say that the “strong war deterrent for national defense came to stand out as an indispensable strategic option.”
The DPRK plans to continue strengthening its national nuclear war prevention measures and will “operate the strategic force on full alert in accordance with the overall requirements for building and developing state armed forces,” the report said.
The report comes amid rising tension between North Korea and South Korea. Just one week before the report, North Korea bombed an inter-Korean liaison office building near its border with South Korea.
“We are making full effort to manage the situation stably so that the situation does not escalate into a military crisis,” South Korea’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement following the attack. “If North Korea carries out military provocation, our military will respond with powerful force.”
North Korea had previously threatened to destroy the building after claiming South Korea failed to prevent propaganda leaflets from entering the DPRK across the border. The DPRK also threatened to violate the 2018 inter-Korean military treaty by sending troops into the demilitarized zone along the border. The bombing notwithstanding, tensions de-escalated after DPRK leader Kim Jong Un decided not to move forward with his threats.
Still, the DPRK maintains a position of strength when it comes to pursuing additional nuclear capabilities. “We will continue to further build up our strength to contain the persistent nuclear threats from the U.S. and we will never shrink from this road we have chosen,” the report said.