North Korea isn’t happy. According to Reuters, Kim Jong Un has told the country’s military to assume “pre-emptive attack” mode and be prepared to use its nuclear weapons at any time.
The news, released via North Korea’s state news agency KCNA, is a sign of increasing tension between the country and the rest of the world following newly tightened sanctions imposed by the UN. The KCNA report quoted Kim Jong Un as highlighting “the need to get the nuclear warheads deployed for national defence always on standby so as to be fired any moment,” adding that “[n]ow is the time for us to convert our mode of military counteraction toward the enemies into a pre-emptive attack one in every aspect.”
It could, of course, all be bluster: North Korea is famous for its outspoken and unsubstantiated claims, and at any rate it’s unclear whether it actually has long-range nuclear capabilities.
Yesterday, North Korea launched six short-range missiles into the sea. According to the BBC’s Steve Evans, based in Seoul, it was regarded “as a signal of the North’s anger and defiance” over the new sanctions.
As Foxtrot Alpha has reported, the new arrangement bans the import of luxury goods and equipment that could further the country’s military capability, as well as making it harder for the country to obtain rocket fuel. Elsewhere, there will also be limits placed on its sale of iron, gold and coal, and a ban on leasing vessels or airplanes to the country. All shipments into and out of the country can now also be inspected.
Though presumably that doesn’t include launched nuclear warheads.