On Saturday, March 18, North Korea claimed that about 800,000 of its citizens volunteered to join or reenlist in the nation’s military to fight against the United States. As reported by North Korea’s state newspaper, “The soaring enthusiasm of young people to join the army is a demonstration of the unshakeable will of the younger generation to mercilessly wipe out the war maniacs making last-ditch efforts to eliminate our precious socialist country, and achieve the great cause of national reunification without fail and a clear manifestation of their ardent patriotism.”
The claim occurred after the U.S. and South Korea began joint military drills last week on March 13. Earlier this month, North Korea launched two strategic cruise missiles from a submarine into the East Sea, but the South Korean military said they detected “one unidentified missile fired from North Korea’s submarine vessel near North’s port city of Sinpo.” Due to the increase of test-fires and nuclear weapons, the U.S. continues to further enhance military cooperation with the Republic of Korea (ROK) with the 11-day large-scale military exercise.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un accused the United States and South Korea of increasing tensions with these military drills and fired another ballistic missile on Sunday. The ballistic missile flew roughly 500 miles across the country and landed in the sea off its east coast. There were no reports of any injuries due to the launch, and due to this, the Pentagon argues that the drills have proven to be a successful deterrent for North Korea. “Despite launching missiles into the ocean, North Korea is not attacking, nor should they, and that the United States, Japan, South Korea and other allies and partners in the region will continue to work together to expand that deterrence and to keep our countries safe”, Brigadier General Patrick S. Ryder told reporters last week.
It is clear that North Korea’s resolve to respond with overwhelming force continues to grow as these “tests” are now demonstrating that their nuclear forces are operational and ready to use. Even with North Korea being more isolated diplomatically, and economically getting worse and worse, Kim Jong Un appears determined to force the world to recognize North Korea as a nuclear weapons state at all costs.