Pyongyang Warns of Potential Seizure of South Korean Territory
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has issued a warning to be prepared to seize South Korean territory in the event of an “emergency.”
Kim Jong-un’s Speech
In a speech marking the 76th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean Army on Friday, Kim praised the military for “firmly protecting the sovereignty and dignity of the country” from “imperialist military threats, blackmail, and the risk of war.” Kim also stated that in the event of an “emergency,” North Korean policymakers had “made a national decision to occupy and pacify [South Korean] territory.”
Tense Relations with Seoul
Kim Jong-un emphasized the increasingly tense relations with Seoul, labeling South Korea as the “most harmful and unchangeable enemy” of Pyongyang. He ruled out reunification between the two countries in late December and called on the national parliament to label South Korea the “number one hostile country” last month. The two nations never signed a peace treaty after the Korean War, and tensions remain high, with North Korea conducting numerous missile launches and criticizing South Korea for holding joint military drills with the US.
Citing US officials, the New York Times reported in January that Washington is worried that North Korea could “take some form of lethal military action” against Seoul. Although sources doubted that Pyongyang would risk a full-scale attack, the warning has raised concerns about the potential for conflict in the region.