North Korea Slams US for Labelling It as ‘Persistent Threat’

People attend a mass rally denouncing the U.S. in Pyongyang, North Korea, June 25, 2023 in this photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea criticised a new U.S. strategy on countering weapons of mass destruction for describing the reclusive state as among those it considers a “persistent threat,” KCNA media reported on Wednesday.

In a statement, a spokesperson for North Korea’s defence ministry accused the United States of increasing nuclear threats, citing joint military drills with South Korea and sending a strategic nuclear submarine, the state-run KCNA report said.

The North Korean military will counter the U.S. military strategy with the “most overwhelming and sustained response strategy,” the spokesperson said, citing an addition to the country’s constitution.

North Korea last week adopted a constitutional amendment to enshrine its policy on nuclear force, as leader Kim Jong Un pledged to accelerate production of nuclear weapons to deter what he called U.S. provocations, according to state media.

South Korea’s defence ministry criticised the move in a statement on Wednesday, saying Pyongyang will be “further isolated” internationally, which would “worsen” the suffering of North Koreans.

Any use of nuclear weapons by Pyongyang will bring the regime to an end, the ministry added, echoing President Yoon Suk Yeol’s remark last month.

The U.S. Department of Defense’s unclassified version of its “2023 Strategy for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction” said “North Korea, Iran and violent extremist organizations remain persistent threats as they continue to further pursue and develop WMD capabilities”.

The spokesperson for North Korea’s defence ministry also criticised the U.S. military’s Sept. 28 strategy statement for its descriptions of China as the “pacing challenge” and Russia as an “acute threat”, calling it a “political provocation” against independent sovereign states.

Unification minister Kim Yung-ho told reporters in Germany on Tuesday that the situation for inter-Korean exchange was “being monitored,” according to news agency Yonhap.