N. Korea vows military action after US missile test
North Korea said Friday that it will carry out efforts to step up its military deterrence and take military action, following a US intercontinental missile test late last month, in a commentary released by the official Korean Central News Agency.
An Air Force Minuteman III ICBM exploded over the Pacific Ocean following its launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. An anomaly was detected, the US Air Force said without elaborating further. South Korean defense officials attended the event for the first time since 2016, at the invitation of the US.
“We’re more than willing to fulfill our constitutional duty to protect sovereignty, territory and interests of our people with a decisive strike back to reckless provocations by war maniacs,” the commentary said, adding a nuclear strike warrants the same response.
The Unification Ministry in Seoul, which handles inter-Korean affairs, said Pyongyang’s response to the capable Minuteman III launch is meant to lay groundwork for further provocations of its own.
“The escalating inter-Korean tensions stem from provocations by the North,” Deputy ministry spokesperson Kim In-ae said at a regular briefing. “South Korea and the US will double down on bolstering their extended deterrence to respond to that more strongly.”
The strategy that relies on using the US nuclear umbrella to prevent a North Korean strike has been the cornerstone of the two allies’ approach to North Korea’s nuclear threats. Seoul has now a bigger say in how Washington manages its nuclear assets following their agreement during a White House summit in April.
“North Korea should stop violating international norms and developing nuclear weapons and missiles and so-called space satellites,” Kim added, referring to Pyongyang’s third attempt to put into orbit its first space satellite, following its previous failed attempts. The launch, which uses ballistic missile technology, is banned under UN sanctions the North faces over its nuclear weapons program.