Story by Reuters
North Korea has claimed that around 800,000 of its citizens have volunteered to join or re-enlist in the national army to fight against the United States.
About 800,000 students and workers across the country on Friday alone expressed a desire to enlist or re-enlist in the military to counter the United States, North Korea’s state-run Rodong newspaper reported on Saturday. Sinmon.
The claim came after North Korea launched its Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Thursday in response to ongoing military exercises between the United States and South Korea.
North Korea fired the ICBM into the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan on Thursday, hours before the South Korean president was due to travel to Tokyo for a summit that discussed ways to counter the nuclear weapon of the North.
Ballistic missiles from the North are banned under United Nations Security Council resolutions and the launch has been condemned by the governments of Seoul, Washington and Tokyo.
South Korean and U.S. forces on Monday began 11 days of joint exercises, dubbed “Freedom Shield 23,” staged on a scale not seen since 2017 to counter growing threats from the North.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has accused the United States and South Korea of increasing tensions with military exercises.
North Korea often responds to what it sees as “provocations” from the United States with belligerent threats. Experts say that in addition to joint military exercises and the meeting this week between South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese leader Fumio Kishida, he opposed US President Joe Biden’s plan to host Yoon and his wife to the White House next month.
The state visit will be the second of Biden’s presidency, underscoring the close ties between the United States and South Korea, and will take place on April 26. Conservative Yoon and his administration have made strengthening the U.S.-Korea alliance a key foreign policy priority. Biden, likewise, has sought to nurture the relationship, including with the symbolic marker of his trip to Seoul in May 2022, his first stop on his maiden trip to Asia as president.
Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, recently told CNN that in response to drills and summits, Pyongyang may “order longer-range missile launches, attempt a spy satellite launch, demonstrate a solid fuel engine, and maybe even perform a nuclear test.