North Korean pilots vow to use suicide attacks

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North Korean pilots vow to use suicide attacks

Amidst growing tensions between North Korea and the United States, Pyongyang issued Monday yet another threat that it will destroy enemies with suicide attacks by its military pilots.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met with a group of fighter jet pilots who showed outstanding performances during the first combat exercise of this year, the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Monday.

During the meeting, the pilots pledged their commitment to “completely destroy the enemies with the most powerful weapons - their commitment to guard the leader with suicide attacks.”

Kim also told the pilots to continue their exercises to turn enemy strongholds into infernos, the report said.

The threat came as tensions between the North and the United States worsened over recent weeks.

Over the weekend, Kim said his country is ready for any kind of confrontation with the United States including a nuclear war, and declared that Pyongyang won’t make any more efforts to talk to Washington.

“We no longer have an intention to sit down for talks with crazy dogs that openly said they will destroy the socialist system,” Kim was quoted as saying by the North Korean state media on Saturday.

“We are capable of countering all kinds of wars, operations and combat that the U.S. imperialists want,” Kim said. “We are prepared to go into any kind of war, including a war using conventional weapons or even a nuclear war.”

The comments came after a military drill involving fighter jets and submarines armed with torpedoes took place to practice combatting American forces, including an aircraft carrier.

The North’s escalated threats appeared to be an expression of its frustration toward the United States.

Washington has named the North as being behind a cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, although Pyongyang has denied it.

Last month, Obama also warned that the authoritarian regime of Kim will eventually collapse. “It’s brutal and it’s oppressive and as a consequence, the country can’t really even feed its own people,” Obama said in an interview on YouTube. “Over time, you will see a regime like this collapse.”

The United States also recently turned down the North’s offer to stop a nuclear test in return for a promise to stop annual South Korea-U.S. military drills.

The North also complained that the United States was blaming it for the stalled dialogue.

“We proposed that Sung Kim, special representative for North Korea policy of the State Department, visit Pyongyang, but Washington turned it down,” a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said Sunday.

“During his Asia trip, Kim expressed his intention to meet with us, so we invited him to Pyongyang. The United States has turned it down, and it is now blaming us by giving the impression that the talks could not take place because of our attitude.”

Kim visited Japan and China last week to discuss North Korea issues. A trilateral meeting in Tokyo involving U.S., Japanese and South Korean officials also took place during Kim’s trip.

Kim said in Beijing on Friday that the question is whether the North is ready for any serious and productive discussions on the nuclear issue, stressing that Washington is open for substantive engagement with Pyongyang.

He, however, did not mention a possible trip to Pyongyang or an invitation by the North.

“When the United States announced its plan to improve relations with Cuba, the North began to have a high expectation,” a South Korean official said.

“But Washington repeatedly turned town Pyongyang’s offers, including the invitation to Kim. Now it is beefing up its armed demonstrations.”

BY SER MYO-JA [myoja@joongang.co.kr]


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