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North Korean leader calls on army to 'prepare for war'

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North Korean leader has called on his country’s army to strengthen its preparedness for a possible military confrontation with the US and its allies amid what is called security threats ahead of the annual joint US-South Korea war games described by Pyongyang as provocative.

Kim Jong-un made the remarks while opening a new hall at the country’s Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum in the capital, Pyongyang, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Saturday.

“The prevailing situation where a great war for national reunification is at hand requires all the KPA (Korean People’s Army) units to become (elite) Guard Units fully prepared for war politically and ideologically, in military technique and materially,” said Kim.

Kim also urged the country’s military to train hard in order “to tear to pieces the Star and Stripes” referring to the US flag.

The comments by Kim came after the US and South Korea conducted a prelude joint naval exercise involving a US Aegis destroyer and 10 South Korean warships ahead of the annual large-scale military drills to begin next week.

The eight-week exercise, titled Foal Eagle, is set to kick off on March 2 and will involve air, ground and naval field drills, with some 200,000 Korean and 3,700 US troops. In addition, the two countries will stage a week-long largely computer-stimulated joint drill, dubbed Key Resolve.

North Korea has denounced the maneuvers as a provocative “rehearsal for invasion,” calling for them to be called off to avoid military tensions between South and North Korea and improve bilateral relations. Pyongyang has also said it will take every measure to demonstrate its might as long as threats from the US persist.

South Korea and the United States, however, say that the military exercises are “defensive” in nature.

The US has close to 30,000 troops permanently stationed in South Korea.

The two Koreas remain technically at war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.


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