Nearly 800,000 signed up to fight US, North Korea says
North Korea says around 800,000 of its citizens have volunteered to join or re-enlist in the national army to fight the United States, North Korea’s state-run newspaper reported on Saturday.
About 800,000 students and workers across the country on Friday alone expressed a desire to enlist or re-enlist in the military to counter the United States, the Rodong Sinmun newspaper reported.
“The growing enthusiasm of young people to join the army is a demonstration of the unwavering will of the young generation to ruthlessly eliminate the war maniacs who are making last-ditch efforts to eliminate our precious socialist country and realize the great cause of national reunification without failure and a clear manifestation of their ardent patriotism,” the newspaper said.
The North’s claim came after the secretive communist state launched its Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Thursday, in response to ongoing military exercises between the United States and South Korea.
Pyongyang fired the ICBM into the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan on Thursday, hours before the South Korean president was due to travel to Tokyo for a summit that discussed ways to counter the North’s nuclear weapon.
Ballistic missiles from the North are banned under United Nations Security Council resolutions and the launch has been condemned by the governments of Seoul, Washington and Tokyo.
South Korean and U.S. forces on Monday began 11 days of joint exercises, dubbed “Freedom Shield 23,” staged on a scale not seen since 2017 to counter growing threats from the North.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has accused the United States and South Korea of increasing tensions with military exercises.