OAN’s Brooke Mallory
12:00 PM – Monday, June 26, 2023
Tens of thousands of North Koreans marched in anti-U.S. demonstrations over the weekend, vowing “merciless” vengeance on “U.S. imperialists” as the nation observed the 73rd anniversary of the commencement of the Korean War, according to Korean state media.
North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency reported that more than 120,000 people attended mass rallies in the country’s capital on Sunday.
Even though the 1950–1953 battle was precipitated by a surprise North Korean invasion, protestors in Pyongyang advocated their government’s version of events, accusing the U.S. of inciting the war and leaving Koreans with “wounds… that can never be healed.”
A North Korean defector-turned-activist in South Korea said he launched balloons containing 200,000 anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets and COVID-19 hospital supplies across the border on Sunday night, continuing his years-long campaigns that have frequently elicited violent responses from the North.
North Koreans also showed pride in Kim Jong Un’s advancing nuclear weapons and missile programs during the rallies, asserting that their nation now had the “strongest absolute weapon to punish the U.S. imperialists and the war deterrence for self-defense, which no enemy dare provoke.”
Images published by the North’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper showed a stadium filled with tens of thousands of people wearing COVID-19 face masks and brandishing banners that read, “Let’s eradicate U.S. imperialist invaders” and “The entire U.S. mainland is within our striking range.”
The boisterous rallies took place amid rising regional tensions, as the pace of North Korean weapons demonstrations and the United States’ joint military drills with South Korea have both increased in retaliation.
In their most recent phone conversation regarding North Korea, U.S. and South Korean nuclear envoys accused Pyongyang of falsifying history by repeating old claims that the U.S. sparked the Korean War, according to South Korea’s Foreign Ministry.
Kim Gunn, a South Korean official, and Sung Kim, President Joe Biden’s special representative for North Korea, noted how Pyongyang was accusing Washington and its allies of recent tensions caused by its increased weapons tests and verbal threats of nuclear war. They promised more diplomatic and security coordination between Washington, Seoul, and Tokyo to deal with the threats, according to the South Korean ministry.
North Korea has conducted about 100 missile tests of varying ranges since the beginning of 2022 as Kim strives to demonstrate a dual capability to deliver nuclear attacks on both the U.S. mainland and South Korea. Following a disastrous initial launch in May, the North is now reportedly stepping up attempts to send its first military spy satellite into space.
There are indications that North Korea is planning a massive military parade in Pyongyang to demonstrate its latest military assets.
Recent commercial satellite pictures reveal troop and vehicle movements as well as the construction of buildings suggestive of parade preparations, most likely for the July 27th anniversary of the Korean War armistice agreement.
During a briefing, Lee Sung Joon, a spokeswoman for South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated that the South’s military was closely examining the North’s suspected parade preparations but did not disclose specifics.
Kim and his daughter took center stage at a military parade in February, and his military unveiled what looked like a new solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile, which was likely the same weapon that the country flight-tested for the first time in April. If finalized, the weapon would provide Kim with a more mobile and difficult-to-detect weapon to target the continental U.S.
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