News / Asia

N. Korea Threatens 'Pre-Emptive Nuclear Attack'

North Korea missile ranges
North Korea missile ranges
— For the first time, North Korea is threatening to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike.  This is the latest in an increasing series of bellicose rhetoric from Pyongyang in recent days.

The threat, attributed to a spokesman from North Korea's foreign ministry, was carried by the country's central news agency and also broadcast Thursday.

The ministry spokesman is quoted as saying that because "the United States is about to ignite a nuclear war, our revolutionary armed forces will be exercising our right to pre-emptive nuclear attack against the strongholds of invaders in order to protect our supreme interest.”

North Korean Nuclear Tests

2006
  • Carried out underground at Punggye-ri
  • Powered by plutonium
  • Released radioactive materials

2009
  • Carried out underground at Punggye-ri
  • Seismic signals were consistent with a nuclear test
  • Radioactive material was not detected

2013
  • Carried out underground at Punggye-ri
  • Seismic signals were consistent with a nuclear test
  • Estimated to be more powerful than devices tested earlier
Earlier in the week, a four-star general went on television to announce North Korea next Monday would abrogate the 1953 armistice, which halted the three-year devastating Korean civil war.

​North Korea has made no secret it is incensed about fresh sanctions against it by the U.N. Security Council.  It is also expressing strong displeasure with annual military drills under way involving American and South Korean forces.

The North claims the joint exercises are a pretext to a nuclear attack by the United States.

The commander of U.S. forces in South Korea, General James Thurman, issued a statement expressing concern about Pyongyang's threat to cancel the cease-fire agreement.  He noted [that] as leader of the U.N. Command on the peninsula he is "charged to fully enforce the conditions of the armistice."

The cease-fire document was signed by military commanders from China and North Korea on one side and the U.S.-led U.N. Command on behalf of the international community.  South Korea was not a signatory.

The two Koreas have since remain divided, no peace treaty was ever written and thus Seoul and Pyongyang never established diplomatic relations.

The United States maintains more than 28,000 military personnel in South Korea.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

As AIDS Epidemic Matures, Workplaces Adapt

Issue of AIDS in workplace is one of many social issues being discussed at the 20th International Aids Conference in Australia More

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sham from: USA
March 07, 2013 11:53 AM
The Rockefeller family will LOVE to go into this war, so they can profit from the American public by borrowing money with INTEREST from their FRAUDULENT, EVIL, PRIVATE, organization they call the "Federal Reserve Bank".


by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
March 07, 2013 11:24 AM
I hope the US and allies are going through their defensive drills and civil defense drills, especially at bases in areas under the range of NKorean fielded missile systems.
The escalation in the war of wars between N/S Korea, is not healthy. If SKorea wants to push it to the next level, then it should pick the time and place, having the element of surprise on its side; in any case word escalation is absolutely not constructive; all it does is push NKorea into a corner. US and Allies need to calm its ally, irrespective what the intentions are.


by: Lei from: China
March 07, 2013 11:17 AM
China and russia obviously don't N.K. nuclear test and cancel cease-fire document, so this sanction can be passed on U.N.


by: NVO from: USA
March 07, 2013 9:36 AM
All their so-called rocket attempts have been FAILURES. They cannot even get anything into the air. What a joke. Just another ploy by the Federal Reserve Bank to send us to war. Wake up, world. The Fed wants us in war so we borrow more money at INTEREST for their profit.


by: Michael from: USA
March 07, 2013 8:08 AM
New sanctions are strong but aren't meant to provoke such strong responses. The threats are timed with United Nation votes and the level of poverty increases with new sanctions, so the votes are deliberate because the U.N knows that provocation acts to open the isolated N Korea. Those who think sanctions will stop all nuclear tests are few. The USA will rightly bring these facts to the U.N since this might help to open N Korea in a different way (other than provocation)


by: david lulasa from: tambua,gimarakwa,hamisi,v
March 07, 2013 6:22 AM
when such things,the world obviously expects something positive from russia and china..and if not,then its china and russia who are hoping that israel actually got to be removed from the map by like minded people in iran and north korea.


lulasa

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid