North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has threatened South Korea with a preemptive nuclear strike just four days after he exchanged personal letters with outgoing President Moon Jae-in.
Kim made the threat during a huge military parade marking the 90th anniversary of the North Korean army in Pyongyang on Monday night, according to state media on Tuesday.
“The fundamental mission of our nuclear forces is to deter a war, but our nuclear weapons can never be confined to the single mission of war deterrent.”
“If any forces try to violate the fundamental interests of our state, our nuclear forces will have to decisively accomplish its second mission,” he added.
This is the first time a North Korean leader has publicly threatened a preemptive nuclear strike.
But Moon seems determined to sit out the recent series of North Korean provocations until he leaves office in two weeks’ time. Neither Cheong Wa Dae nor the Defense Ministry responded to Kim’s threat, and no meeting of the National Security Council was called.
The only response from Seoul was a statement issued by president-elect Yoon Seok-youl’s transition team, which reads, “The most urgent task is the capability to deter North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats as they have now become a clear and present danger.”
Recently, the regime conducted a series of tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of hitting the U.S. mainland, as well as tactical nuclear missiles aimed at South Korea.
Meanwhile, Kim appeared at the parade in a white uniform that recalled his grandfather, regime founder Kim Il-sung. His wife Ri Sol-ju also donned a white suit.