North Korea threatened to launch a preemptive nuclear strike on its “aggressors,” including the U.S., ahead of a United Nations vote on tougher sanctions against the totalitarian state for last month’s atomic test.
North Korea "will exercise the right to a preemptive nuclear attack to destroy the strongholds of the aggressors and to defend the supreme interests of the country,” according to a Foreign Ministry statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency. It warned the U.N. “not to make another big blunder.”
Kim Jong Un’s regime has increased its threatening rhetoric since the U.S. and China hammered out an accord that the U.N. Security Council will vote on as soon as Thursday to impose tougher sanctions. While the nuclear test last month was bigger than previous ones, North Korea has yet to demonstrate the ability to put a nuclear device on a ballistic missile.
“This kind of threat of greater counter-measures is classic North Korean style to amplify fear to delay or avoid the sanctions,” Cho Bong Hyun, a Seoul-based research fellow at the IBK Economic Research Institute said. “Stronger sanctions on North Korea are largely accepted by the international community so this statement is unlikely to have any effect on the vote.”
North Korea has made other nuclear threats in the past, saying last month it could “target” the U.S. with an atomic test. Kim, who inherited his position upon his late father Kim Jong Il’s death in December 2011, has worked to secure his legitimacy by preserving a military-first policy while seeking to boost an impoverished economy.