Kim Jong-un has urged the North Korean army to prepare for war with the US and its allies, state media said on February 28, ahead of US-South Korea military drills.
The North Korean leader’s comments came after South Korea and the US on February 27 conducted a joint naval drill involving 10 South Korean warships and a US Aegis destroyer, ahead of the launch of large-scale military exercises that have enraged the North.
“The prevailing situation where a great war for national reunification is at hand requires all the KPA (Korean People’s Army) units to become (elite) Guard Units fully prepared for war politically and ideologically, in military technique and materially,” Kim Jong-un was quoted by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) as saying.
Kim Jong-un called on the military to train hard in order “to tear to pieces the Stars and Stripes”, in comments made while opening a new hall at the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum in Pyongyang, KCNA said.
The drill on February 27 was a prelude to an eight-week exercise, Foal Eagle, involving air, ground and naval field training, with around 200,000 Korean and 3,700 US troops that begins on March 2.
A week-long, largely computer-simulated joint drill, Key Resolve, will also get under way.
Seoul and Washington insist the exercises are defense-based in nature, but they are condemned by Pyongyang as provocative rehearsals for invasion.
The communist country had offered a moratorium on carrying out nuclear tests if this year’s joint drills were cancelled – a proposal rejected by Washington as an “implicit threat” to carry out a fourth atomic drill.
North Korea claims it won the 1950-1953 Korean War, which ended in an armistice instead of a peace treaty, leaving the two Koreas still technically at war.