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N. Korea slams Seoul defense chief's anti-Pyongyang warning as 'catalyst' for clash

Feb. 5, 2024 - 10:12 By Yonhap
North Korea launches a missile on Feb. 2. The country conducted what state media called a "cruise missile super-large warhead power test" and test-fired a new anti-aircraft missile. (KCNA)

North Korea on Monday denounced South Korea's defense minister over his latest warning that Pyongyang will face the end of its regime in the event it wages war, calling his remark a "catalyst" for a physical clash.

Minister Shin Won-sik warned on Jan. 24 that Pyongyang will face the end of its regime in the event it wages a war, hours after North Korea fired several cruise missiles into the Yellow Sea.

During his visit to the 17th Fighter Wing at Cheongju Air Base, 112 kilometers south of Seoul, Shin called on pilots to "be at the vanguard of removing the enemy's leadership at the earliest possible time and put an end to the regime" if Pyongyang opts for waging a war.

In a commentary, the North's Korean Central News Agency denounced Shin over what it called the "worst ludicrous statements" that could become a "catalyst" for a physical clash.

The North warned that Seoul should understand its "slander" and "war drills" carry the risk of ending its fate, according to the KCNA.

North Korea has been dialing up tensions on the Korean Peninsula in the new year -- an election year for South Korea and the United States -- with weapons tests and harshly worded rhetoric.

During a year-end party meeting, Kim Jong-un defined inter-Korean ties as relations between "two states hostile to each other" and vowed to "suppress" South Korea's whole territory in the event of a contingency.

Kim has also called for revising the country's constitution to define South Korea as the North's "primary foe" and announced the country will abandon its decadeslong policy of seeking reconciliation and unification with the South. (Yonhap)