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NKorea Vows Response to Pentagon Report10/04 06:18


   SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- North Korea slammed the United States over a 
recent Pentagon report that labeled it a "persistent" threat because of weapons 
of mass destruction, saying Wednesday that it will counter any U.S. aggression 
or provocations with "the most overwhelming and sustained response strategy."

   Last week, the Pentagon released the unclassified version of its "2023 
Strategy for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction" describing WMD challenges 
and methods to address them. The report stated that while China and Russia 
present "the principal WMD challenges," North Korea, Iran and violent extremist 
organizations remain "persistent regional threats" that must also be addressed.

   Such U.S. descriptions of North Korea and the North's angry response aren't 
unusual. But the latest exchange comes as concerns grow that North Korea is 
pushing for a weapons transfer deal with Russia in violation of U.N. Security 
Council resolutions.

   "The U.S. has just revealed its dangerous intention for aggression to 
seriously violate the sovereignty and security of (North Korea) and other 
independent sovereign states by threatening them with WMDs, and realize its 
wild ambition for seizing global military hegemony," an unidentified 
spokesperson for North Korea's Defense Ministry said in a statement carried by 
state media.

   North Korea's military will "counter the U.S. imperialist aggressor's 
military strategy and provocations with the most overwhelming and sustained 
response strategy," the statement said.

   North Korea's nuclear program has taken on new urgency since it enacted a 
law last year that authorizes preemptive use of nuclear weapons. Since the 
beginning of 2022, North Korea has conducted more than 100 missile tests, many 
of them involving nuclear-capable weapons potentially able to target the U.S. 
and South Korea.

   Last week, North Korea's parliament amended the country's constitution to 
include the nuclear law, an indication that the North is further boosting its 
nuclear doctrine. During the parliament meeting, leader Kim Jong Un called for 
an exponential increase in production of nuclear weapons and for his country to 
play a larger role in a coalition of nations confronting the United States in a 
"new Cold War."

   South Korea's Defense Ministry warned in a statement Wednesday that any 
attempt by North Korea to use nuclear weapons would result in the end of the 
Kim government. It said North Korea's inclusion of the nuclear law in its 
constitution will further deepen its international isolation and the suffering 
of its people.

   The Pentagon report cited the North Korean nuclear law in explaining its 
security threat. The report said North Korea is developing mobile nuclear 
capabilities that place the U.S. homeland and regional allies and partners at 

   The report also said North Korea maintains up to several thousand metric 
tons of chemical warfare agents and the capability to produce nerve, blister 
and choking agents. It said North Korea's potential chemical deployment methods 
include artillery, ballistic missiles and unconventional forces.

   The U.S. and South Korea have been responding to North Korea's advancing 
nuclear arsenal with expanded joint military exercises and temporary 
deployments of U.S. long-range bombers and a nuclear-armed submarine. North 
Korea calls such moves grave provocations that force it to further strengthen 
its nuclear program.

   North Korea's Defense Ministry said in the statement that the term 
"persistent threat" is more suitable for the U.S., citing its intensifying 
military drills with South Korea and the deployment of the nuclear-armed 
submarine that it said carried weapons "large enough to totally destroy one 

   In September, Kim traveled to Russia's far eastern region to meet with 
President Vladimir Putin and visit key military sites. North Korea and Russia 
said the trip was meant to boost their cooperation but neither side disclosed 

   Foreign officials and experts believe North Korea hopes to obtain advanced 
Russian technologies to help it develop spy satellites, nuclear-propelled 
submarines and powerful long-range missiles in return for supplying Russia with 
conventional arms exhausted by its war with Ukraine.

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