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 On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid