North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has vowed Pyongyang would not hesitate to “put an end” to South Korea if attacked, state media said Friday, as relations between the neighbours hit new lows.
The nuclear-armed North this year declared South Korea its “principal enemy”, closed agencies dedicated to reunification and outreach, and threatened war over “even 0.001 millimetres” of territorial infringement.
“If the enemy dared to use force against our country, we will make a bold decision that will change history and will not hesitate to mobilise all the superpowers to put an end to them,” Kim said, according to Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
“Peace is not something to beg for or exchange through negotiations,” he added.
Kim made the comments during a defence ministry event marking the anniversary of the founding of the country’s military, KCNA said.
His statement echoed earlier remarks in which Kim said his military should “annihilate” the enemy if provoked, referring to South Korea and its ally the United States, state media reported last month.
Images released by KCNA on Friday showed Kim holding hands with his young daughter, Ju Ae, who some analysts say is being groomed as the next leader of the isolated country.
The images also showed the pair receiving enthusiastic cheers from uniformed military soldiers, as well as posing for photographs with army commanders.
Kim said Pyongyang’s recent decision to define Seoul as its principal enemy was a righteous measure.
“The decision to define (South) Korean puppets as the number one hostile nation and unchanging enemy” and to “occupy and put down their territory in the event of a contingency is for the sake of our country’s eternal security”, he said, according to KCNA.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said last week that the “irrational” North Korean government was likely to carry out multiple provocations, including cyberattacks and drone intrusions, ahead of the South’s April election.
In January, Seoul’s defence minister said North Korea would face the end of its regime if it ever waged war.
North Korea’s rubber-stamp parliament voted Wednesday to abolish laws on economic cooperation with the South, according to KCNA.
Kim has also ramped up weapons testing, including this year’s launch of a flurry of cruise missiles, which analysts said the North could be supplying to Russia for use in Ukraine.