News / Asia

North Korea Vows to Strengthen Nuclear Arsenal

VOA News
North Korea has vowed to develop and launch more advanced satellites and says the country's nuclear weapons are non-negotiable and will not be traded even for "billions of dollars" in economic assistance.

The official KCNA news agency reported Sunday that a plenary meeting of the North Korean Workers' Party Central Committee, chaired by leader Kim Jong Un, called for building both a stronger economy and nuclear arsenal.

It said the North's nuclear armed forces are not a political bargaining chip, and that they should be "expanded and beefed up...until the denuclearization of the world is realized."

The meeting comes a day before the country's rubber stamp parliament is to meet April 1 amid increased tensions with South Korea and the United States.

In a related development, sources told VOA that a group of U.S. F-22 stealth fighter jets were flown Sunday from Kadena Air Base in Japan to Osan Air Base, south of Seoul, to join the current joint exercises in South Korea. 

  • North Koreans attend a rally in support of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's order to put its missile units on standby in preparation for a possible war against the U.S. and South Korea, Pyongyang, March 29, 2013.
  • University students punch the air as they march through Kim Il Sung Square in downtown Pyongyang, North Korea, March 29, 2013.
  • South Korean soldiers prepare for a military exercise, Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, March 29, 2013.
  • A U.S. Air Force B-2 stealth bomber flies near Osan U.S. Air Base in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, South Korea, March 28, 2013.
  • South Korean vehicles return from a joint industrial complex at the North Korean city of Kaesong as a U.S. Army soldier watches at the customs, immigration and quarantine office, near the Demilitarized Zone, March 28, 2013.
  • South Korean army soldiers patrol along a barbed-wire fence near the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea, March 27, 2013.
  • A man walks past propaganda posters that threaten punishment to the "U.S. imperialists and their allies," Pyongyang, North Korea, March 26, 2013.
  • Soldiers of the Korean People's Army take part in landing and anti-landing drills in the eastern sector of the front and the east coastal area, North Korea, March 25, 2013.
  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un talks with generals as soldiers of the Korean People's Army take part in landing and anti-landing drills in eastern North Korea, March 25, 2013.

Last week, a pair of stealth B-2 bombers were dispatched from the United States to drop inert munitions on a South Korean island range.

The mission, following those by B-52 bombers earlier in the month, was seen as sending a message to both Seoul and Pyongyang.  It was a dramatic reassurance to the South that it is protected under the United States nuclear umbrella -- and a warning to the North of U.S. forces' capability to strike precisely and quickly from a long distance, should war erupt.

On Saturday, the North said it had entered a "state of war" with South Korea and warned any provocation by Seoul and Washington would escalate into nuclear confrontation.  Pyongyang said all issues between the two Koreas would be handled according to "wartime regulations."

In response, South Korea's defense ministry urged its northern neighbor to stop making threats.  The ministry also said the South's forces will completely punish the North if there is a provocation.

VOA Seoul Bureau Chief Steve Herman said the Korean peninsula "has not seen this level of tension since late 2010, when the North bombed the South’s Yeonpyeong Island,” killing four.  Pyongyang justified the attack by pointing to South Korea’s shelling of disputed waters during a military exercise.

South Korean defense sources said Friday that vehicles and personnel were seen moving toward a North Korean missile launch test site, but that no activity had been detected.

The White House said it takes Pyongyang's latest statement seriously.  National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the North has a long history of bellicose rhetoric, and that Saturday's threat follows a familiar pattern.

Map of GuamMap of Guam
x
Map of Guam
Map of Guam
North Korea also threatened to shut down a joint industrial complex with the South on Saturday.  A North Korean spokesman said the Kaesong industrial complex just north of the line (Demilitarized Zone) separating the two countries will close if Seoul undermines the North's dignity.

North Korea has directed a series of vitriolic comments at the U.S. and South Korea in recent weeks.  Pyongyang has threatened to turn Seoul into a "sea of fire" and has warned of firing rockets at U.S. military bases in Guam, Hawaii and Japan.

Analysts say the North is not yet capable of mounting an operational nuclear warhead on a missile.  But many of its neighbors are worried they may be easier targets for Pyongyang's conventional weapons.

You May Like

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs