North Korea’s official newspaper; Rodong Sinmun reported that around 800,000 citizens of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have volunteered and joined the North Korean military with intentions to fight the United States.
The newspaper went on to say that the enthusiasm of the young workforce and students to join the military is a demonstration of the will and determination they possess. That their intention is to destroy the war fanatics and imperialists that the United States are.
This signals a rise in the already high numbers of the North Korean military, as this estimate is apparently from Friday alone.
The news comes right after another North Korean escalation.
On 16th March North Korea launched its own intercontinental ballistic missile, the ‘Hwasong-17’ at 7:10 (22:10 GMT) from Pyongyang into the waters near South Korea and west of Japan. The missile flew about 1,000 km (620 miles). It was North Korea’s fourth such missile launch in the week itself, but the other missiles had been short-range ballistic missiles.
Japan’s defense minister verified the ICBM nature of the missile and that it flew around 6,000 km (about 3,728 miles) high for around 1 hour 10 minutes. It landed at 8:20 outside the exclusive economic zone of Japan.
North Korea is banned under the United Nations Security Council resolutions from possessing or developing Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and this launch drew strong condemnation from the South Korean, Japanese and American governments.
The issue with intercontinental ballistic missiles is with their capability to operate over long distances. Some experts now believe that North Korea may have intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach the mainland of the United States and carry multiple warheads.
This was a response to the shared South Korea and United States military drills that are currently taking place. Kim Jong Un went on to accuse the two governments of escalating tensions themselves by holding the military drills in the first place. It was also a result of the summit happening at Tokyo on Thursday between the South Korean President Yook Suk Yeol and the Japanese President Fumio Kishida on the nuclear charged North Korea.
The drills are joint between American and South Korean troops and the operation is termed ‘Freedom Shield 23’. It will be 11 days long. These drills are on a scale that has not been seen since 2017. The primary purpose of these 11 day long joint drills is to counter North Korea’s growing aggression in the region and the threat it poses to the peace and security there.
North Korea fired more missiles in 2022 than it ever had before, amounting up to 90 launches. This has persisted despite a series of sanctions imposed on North Korea by the United Nations, the European Union and the United States.
North Korea continues in its pathway towards aggression in the region while raising its military numbers through enlistments of the young populace.