North Korea has issued a warning, stating that it would respond with nuclear force if the United States deploys aircraft carriers, bombers, and missile submarines in South Korea. The warning was shared via state media channel KCNA on Thursday. According to Pyongyang, despite repeated warnings, the US and South Korea convened a meeting of the “nuclear consultative group” on July 18 to discuss the potential use of nuclear weapons against North Korea.
Speaking in a statement, North Korean Defense Minister Kang Sun-nam expressed concern over the recent deployment of an Ohio-class strategic nuclear submarine to the Busan Port operation base. He claimed that this was the first time in over four decades that strategic nuclear weapons had been stationed on the Korean peninsula. Kang argued that this move signaled the US scenario for a nuclear attack on North Korea entering a critical stage of visualization and systemization.
Accusing Washington and Seoul of crossing a red line in their military hysteria, Kang asserted that the deployment of nuclear submarines and other strategic assets meets the conditions for the use of nuclear weapons specified in North Korean military doctrine. He emphasized that the use of nuclear weapons could be executed if a nuclear attack is launched against North Korea or if it is determined that an attack is imminent. Kang cautioned the US military about the dangerous situation that its nuclear assets have entered.
The North Korean statement came in response to the docking of the USS Kentucky Ohio-class submarine in Busan, to which Pyongyang retaliated by firing two ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan on Wednesday.
Tensions between Pyongyang and Washington have been rising in recent months, with North Korea conducting missile tests and the US and South Korea engaging in large-scale military exercises. North Korean officials have repeatedly pointed to their nation’s military strength, including its nuclear weapons program, as a crucial factor in maintaining peace and stability amid what they perceive as escalating threats from the United States, whom they refer to as “gangster-like Americans.”
US officials, on the other hand, have expressed a willingness to negotiate with North Korea regarding its nuclear program without any preconditions. They have justified the joint military exercises with South Korea as a means of deterring potential attacks from Pyongyang.
It remains to be seen how the situation will develop and whether negotiations can be resumed between the two countries. The threat of nuclear responses from North Korea adds a further layer of complexity to an already tense and delicate situation on the Korean peninsula. The international community will be closely watching for any further developments and potential efforts towards de-escalation.