SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s powerful sister warned on Saturday (Apr 29) that a US-South Korean agreement aimed at strengthening deterrence against Pyongyang will lead to “more serious danger”, state media reported.
The United States and South Korea vowed this week that North Korea would face a nuclear response and the “end” of the leadership there should it use its own nukes against the allies, as the two countries’ presidents met in Washington.
In Pyongyang’s first response to the Washington summit, Kim Yo Jong said the North remained convinced that its nuclear deterrent “should be brought to further perfection.”
“The more the enemies are dead set on staging nuclear war exercises, and the more nuclear assets they deploy in the vicinity of the Korean peninsula, the stronger the exercise of our right to self-defence will become,” she said, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and US counterpart Joe Biden on Wednesday issued what was called the Washington Declaration, bolstering the US nuclear umbrella over South Korea, which is increasingly nervous about Pyongyang’s aggression.
It will involve the “regular deployment of strategic assets” including the first South Korean port visit by a nuclear ballistic submarine in decades, a US official told AFP.
The agreement, however, would “only result in making peace and security of Northeast Asia and the world be exposed to more serious danger, and it is an act that can thus never be welcome”, Kim Yo Jong said.
North Korea has defied years of punishing sanctions to continue work on its banned nuclear and missile programmes, and last year declared itself an “irreversible” nuclear power, effectively ending the possibility of denuclearisation talks.
Pyongyang has conducted a record-breaking string of sanctions-defying launches in 2023, including test-firing the country’s first solid-fuel ballistic missile — a key technical breakthrough for Kim Jong Un’s military.
Washington and Seoul have ramped up defence cooperation in response, staging joint military exercises with advanced stealth jets and high-profile US strategic assets.