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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid