SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned Pyongyang will not hesitate to launch a nuclear attack if “provoked with nukes”, state media said on Thursday, while Seoul and its allies called for “dialogue without preconditions”.

Kim’s warning follows a meeting between South Korea and the United States last week in Washington, where they discussed nuclear deterrence in the event of conflict with the North.

The meeting’s agenda included “nuclear and strategic planning”, and the allies reiterated that any nuclear attack by Pyongyang on the United States or South Korea would result in the end of the North Korean regime.

But Kim told his military’s missile bureau “not to hesitate (launching) even a nuclear attack when the enemy provokes it with nukes,” Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency said.

Washington, Seoul and Tokyo released a statement shortly afterwards, urging the nuclear-armed country to “stop conducting further provocations and accept our call for engaging in substantive dialogue without preconditions”.

Published in Dawn, December 22nd, 2023

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