800,000 people enlist to fight US, says North Korea

Published March 19, 2023
Troops take part in a military parade to mark the 75th founding anniversary of North Korea’s army, in Pyongyang, North Korea February 8, 2023, in this photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency. — KCNA via Reuters
Troops take part in a military parade to mark the 75th founding anniversary of North Korea’s army, in Pyongyang, North Korea February 8, 2023, in this photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency. — KCNA via Reuters

SEOUL: More than 800,000 young North Koreans have volunteered to join the army to fight “US imperialists”, state media said on Saturday, days after Pyongyang test-fired its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile.

After a record-breaking year of weapons tests and growing nuclear threats from Pyongyang, Seoul and Washington have ramped up security cooperation, and this week kicked off their largest joint military drills in five years.

North Korea views all such exercises as rehearsals for invasion and has repeatedly warned it would take “overwhelming” action in response.

The official Korean Central News Agency described the ongoing drills as an American attempt “to provoke a nuclear war” and said that in response, hundreds of thousands of people had enlisted.

The young volunteers are determined to “mercilessly wipe out the war maniacs” so they joined the army to “defend the country”, KCNA said. “More than 800,000 youth league officials and students across the country volunteered to join and rejoin the Korean People’s Army” on Friday alone, it added.

Images released by Pyongyang’s official Rodong Sinmun showed young North Koreans waiting in long lines to sign their names at what looks like a construction site.

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2023

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