Kim Jong Un Threatens to 'Annihilate' South Korea

North Korean leader sharpens rhetoric against South Korea in runup to elections
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 10, 2024 2:00 AM CST
Kim Jong Un Threatens 'Our Principal Enemy'
In this photo provided on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, inspects as he tours munitions factories on Jan. 8-9, 2024, in North Korea.   (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called South Korea "our principal enemy" and threatened to annihilate it if provoked, as he escalates his inflammatory, belligerent rhetoric against Seoul and the United States before their elections this year, the AP reports. Kim's threat comes as the White House said it has evidence that Russia has fired additional North Korean-provided ballistic missiles at Ukraine. The US, South Korea, and their partners issued a statement Wednesday condemning both North Korea and Russia over the missile transfer. Experts say Kim will likely further raise animosities with weapons tests to try to influence the results of South Korea's parliamentary elections in April and the US presidential election in November.

During tours of local munitions factories this week, Kim said it's time to define South Korea "as a state most hostile toward" North Korea because of its long-running confrontational moves to topple the North's social system. He said North Korea must subsequently bolster its nuclear war deterrent, the North's official Korean Central News Agency said Wednesday. If South Korea dares to use its military force against North Korea and threaten its sovereignty, Kim said "We will have no hesitation in annihilating (South Korea) by mobilizing all means and forces in our hands," according to KCNA.

He has made similar such threats recently, and analysts say Kim likely hopes South Korean liberals seeking reconciliation with North Korea win the April elections. They believe Kim also thinks he can win US concessions if former President Donald Trump returns to the White House. Some observers say possible North Korean provocations could trigger accidental, limited armed clashes between the two Koreas along their heavily armed border. Last Friday, North Korea fired artillery shells near the disputed western sea boundary with South Korea, prompting South Korea to stage its own firing drills in the same area in response.

(More Kim Jong Un stories.)

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