Tuesday, South Korea issued a warning to North Korea that the use of its nuclear weapons would put it on a “path of self-destruction.” This unusually harsh language came just a few days after North Korea passed a new law that would allow it to use its nuclear weapons preemptively. South Korea warned North Korea that using its nuclear weapons would put it on a “path of self-destruction.”
Given that South Korea normally avoids using phrases with such a strong connotation in order to prevent further escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the language coming from South Korea is certain to irritate North Korea.
According to the Defense Ministry of South Korea, the law would only serve to further isolate North Korea, which in turn would force South Korea and the United States to “further bolster their deterrent and response capacity.”
The ministry stated that South Korea will significantly increase its own preemptive attack, missile defence, and massive retaliation capabilities in an effort to convince North Korea not to use its nuclear weapons. At the same time, South Korea will seek a greater security commitment from the United States to defend its ally South Korea with all available capabilities, including nuclear ones.
“Military alliance and go on the route of self-destruction,” Moon Hong Sik, an acting ministry spokeswoman, told reporters.”
The law on the regulating regulations of North Korea’s nuclear weapons was approved by the country’s rubber-stamp parliament only the week before last. The law would make it legal for North Korea to deploy its nuclear weapons in the event that the country’s leadership is threatened with an impending assault or if it seeks to avert an undefined “catastrophic calamity” for its people.
Because of the ambiguous phrasing, there are now fears that the guidelines are primarily intended as a legal foundation for the country to deploy its nuclear weapons pre-emptively to terrify its competitors into making concessions in the midst of long-stalled talks on its weapons programme.
Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, gave a statement during a meeting of the parliament and said that his nation would never give up its nuclear weapons because it is necessary to deal with threats from the United States. He accused the United States of working toward the destabilisation of his regime by attempting to reduce the North’s defensive capabilities.
This year, Kim has increased the frequency of his weapon tests to a record-setting level by test-launching a succession of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles aimed at both the mainland of the United States and South Korea. Officials from the United States and South Korea have said for many months that North Korea may also conduct its first nuclear test in the previous five years.
Since taking office in May, South Korea’s new conservative government, which is led by President Yoon Suk Yeol, has stated that it will take a tougher stance on North Korean provocation, but it has also offered massive support plans if the North denuclearizes. Yoon Suk Yeol is the leader of the South Korean government. This aid-for-disarmament offer has been categorically turned down by North Korea, and in response, vulgar insults have been levelled at the Yoon administration.
The use of phrases like “self-destruction” by Seoul is not common, but this is not the first time it has happened. As North Korea carried out a number of missile and nuclear tests during the time that another conservative leader, Park Geun-hye, was in charge of South Korea from 2013 until 2017, her government also issued warnings that North Korea would either vanish from the face of the earth or destroy itself as a result of its provocations.
President Moon Jae-in, a liberal who served as president of South Korea from 2017 until this year, was a strong advocate for more reconciliation between the two Koreas. He was given credit for establishing nuclear negotiation between Pyongyang and Washington, which has since stopped, but he also faced criticism that such a diplomacy simply enabled Kim Jong Un to buy time to perfect weapons technology while also enjoying an enhanced stature on the international arena.