Rodong Sinmun: On the reasons for bringing
the situation on the Korean peninsula
to the brink of explosion

The situation on the Korean peninsula is increasingly approaching a dangerous stage where it could spiral out of control.

The whole world is following closely and with deep concern the tense confrontation between the nuclear powers, which has come to the brink of war.

This grave situation is entirely due to the reckless and despotic moves by the United States and its partisans to suppress the DPRK.

As the world is well aware, the DPRK, since the beginning of this year, in its desire to achieve fresh development and progress in its economic construction and raise the living standards of its people, has focused all its efforts on easing military tensions and maintaining peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in the region.

However, hostile forces led by the United States, this year, as in the past, have persisted in dangerous acts of hostility, blatantly violating the sovereignty and security interests of the DPRK; and the seriousness of these actions and the threat they entail have exceeded the limit of tolerance.

In January, during his trip to South Korea, the US Secretary of State said that the US would deploy more strategic assets there, such as fifth-generation Stealth fighters and aircraft carriers, without hesitation in expressing his intention to use nuclear weapons against the DPRK. Meanwhile, puppet traitor Yoon Suk Yeol, obsessed with confronting his own countrymen, spoke from an underground air raid shelter about "adopting an attitude of readiness" and "punishment".

The warmongers, gripped by bravado and blind audacity, announced that more than 20 rounds of joint military exercises at a higher level than the Foal Eagle held in the past would be conducted in the first half of this year. They have been organising frantic warfare exercises against the DPRK, in which they have been training for, among other things, infiltration and joint strikes against strategic facilities and major targets in the country.

Speaking of a permanent 'extended deterrence' presence, the US brought key strategic air weapons, including B-1B strategic nuclear bombers, F-22s, F-35Bs and other Stealth fighters, to the Korean Peninsula in February to repeatedly hold targeted air exercises against the DPRK over the West Korean Sea.

At the end of February, the US imperialists also conducted an 'extended deterrence exercise' with their South Korean puppets in the US, as if recognising that the question of launching a pre-emptive nuclear attack on the DPRK was a foregone conclusion, and announced that they would continue to permanently deploy strategic nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula.

Such reckless push towards military confrontation and hostile actions brought the situation on the Korean Peninsula to the brink of explosion in March.

Driven by the wicked intention of increasing military pressure on the DPRK, the US sent nuclear submarines, one of the US Navy's most important strategic assets, as well as Aegis destroyers to South Korea.

On 1 March, US and South Korean warmongers brought the US Navy's newest tracking ship, the Howard Lorenzen, to the East Korean Sea to conduct espionage operations using RC-135S aircraft and other intelligence assets. On 3 March, for the fourth time this year, they held an air exercise over the East Korean Sea using B-1B strategic bombers, MQ-9 Reaper fighter drones, infamous as 'sky killers', and other strategic equipment.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the College of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the puppet South Korean army, together with his superior, arrived at the site of a special operations exercise, where a 'decapitation operation' to launch a surprise attack on DPRK strategic points had just been practised, and inspected several military units in the frontline area. There, he attempted to stoke extreme confrontational hysteria in the troops, saying that "the enemy has already started its provocation" and that "they will mete out punishment".

Despite the deterioration of the military-political situation on the Korean Peninsula and in the region, on 6 March the US held the fifth round of combined air exercises involving B-52 strategic bombers, and on 13 March it launched the large-scale joint military exercise 'Freedom Shield' with South Korea.

Reality clearly shows that the threat of nuclear war on the Korean peninsula is moving from imagination to reality.

The gravity of the situation lies in the fact that all these joint military exercises that the United States conducts with its puppets are provocative rehearsals and preparations for a nuclear attack, simulating total war against the DPRK.

As for the 'Ssangryong' joint landing exercise to 'seize Pyongyang', the US has resumed it five years after it was suspended and openly boasts of its intention to raise its scale and scope to the highest level ever.

The US imperialists describe their war exercises as 'defensive', but this is a sophism with which they try to make us believe that black is white.

This year, as in the previous year, the US has brought B-52H strategic nuclear bombers, B-1B strategic supersonic bombers, nuclear aircraft carriers, nuclear attack submarines and F-35 fighter jets to the Korean Peninsula and the area around it. They cannot deny that these are not defensive weapons, but the most offensive military equipment designed for strategic strike missions.

No one would believe that the continued deployment of US strategic nuclear assets on the Korean peninsula and things like landing and infiltration exercises, surprise landings or assaults, conducted by special units under war scenarios involving 'ending the regime', 'decapitation' or 'seizing Pyongyang', have anything to do with defence.

At present, hostile forces are resorting to dangerous military moves on the one hand, while on the other hand they are finding a non-existent 'human rights problem' in the DPRK, while desperately trying to isolate and suppress it through unethical and unlawful sanctions.

The US and its vassals create and spread all sorts of fairy tales about the 'threat' from the DPRK, demonising it in the UN and other international arenas, and wickedly act to prevent the entry into our country of goods needed by our people in their daily lives, describing them as 'luxury items'.

Unable to further isolate the DPRK internationally using the 'nuclear problem', the US is mobilising its vassals, who are plain scum, to organise an internationally directed smear campaign against the DPRK with their participation.

The negative impact of targeted moves against the DPRK by the US and other hostile forces is by no means limited to the Korean peninsula.

Currently, the United States, under the banner of pursuing an 'Indo-Pacific Strategy' to maintain its military-strategic hegemony in the region, is trying by all means to change the military balance of power on the Korean Peninsula and in the North-East Asian region in favour of its led alliance, spurring South Korea and Japan to alarmingly increase their arms expenditure.

Seeking to create a new military bloc in the Asia-Pacific region, an 'Asian version of NATO', the US is attempting to build an 'integrated deterrent force' consisting of AUKUS and vassal states and thus create a ring encircling the regional powers that will enable them to be permanently isolated and weakened, thus also realising the American hegemonic goal.

South Korea's development of a 'high-powered ballistic missile', the launch of military spy satellites and attempts to take possession of a nuclear submarine, as well as Japan's aspirations to introduce Tomahawk cruise missiles at home to secure 'attack capabilities against enemy bases' and develop hypersonic missiles show that the weaponisation of the US and its vassal forces has crossed a red line.

Today, because of the frantic military expansion efforts of the US and its vassals, the Korean Peninsula is being transformed into the world's largest arms depot and war training ground.

Due to the hegemonic plans of the United States, leading to division and confrontation and hindering stability and development, regional security has been compromised and even the foundations of global peace and security have been shaken - a fact that is already obvious.

Nothing happens without a cause.

As the international community aptly assesses, the reason for the current situation on the Korean peninsula is that the US has not chosen to respond to positive steps by our country, but on the contrary, is steadily increasing pressure and military threats against the DPRK.

This year alone, we have clearly communicated on several occasions that the reason for the continuous vicious circle of tension building on the Korean Peninsula is the joint exercises carried out with great frequency by the United States and its South Korean puppets, which exacerbate the regional situation with all kinds of threatening rhetoric, constantly setting themselves the unrealistic and very dangerous goal of 'ending the regime' in a sovereign state. We have strongly demanded the immediate cessation of hostile military acts that undermine peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in the region.

However, the US has taken the situation on the Korean Peninsula and in the region to a red line by repeatedly ignoring the legitimate demands of the DPRK and the international community.

Faced with such a serious situation, in which the threat to state sovereignty and security has reached an unacceptable level, our Party and government have been forced to take firm and resolute steps to fully halt the military threat from hostile forces and to defend peace and security on the Korean peninsula and in the region.

Our nuclear forces exist not for publicity.

If necessary to fulfil the sacred mission of defending the country, they can be used at any time and should be used pre-emptively at any time, in accordance with the strategic plan, if a conflict escalates in a dangerous direction.

The recent exercise during which the ICBM missile 'Hwasongpho-17' was launched made this clear.

We will continue to respond with overwhelming force to the reckless military provocations of the US and its vassal forces.

The DPRK's Nuclear Force Policy Law clearly sets out the terms and conditions for the use of nuclear weapons in various circumstances in response to an external military threat and attack on our state.

If there is a violation of the DPRK's sovereignty and security, its nuclear forces will have fulfilled their key mission.

There is no guarantee that violent physical conflict will not occur on the Korean peninsula, where the huge armed forces of both sides are in fierce confrontation with each other, if the dangerous military provocations of the US and South Korea are not stopped, the

Should such a conflict actually occur, regional stability, as well as the security of the United States, would fall into an unmanageable catastrophe.

The US should immediately cease its reckless military provocations and targeted war exercises against the DPRK.