SEOUL, North Korea defended its fourth nuclear test as a “self-defense measure” aimed at sending a message to the United States, and not South Korea.
Pyongyang’s media outlet Uriminzokkiri, which has produced propaganda targeting South Koreans in the past, stated Friday, “Our nuclear deterrent from start to finish is aimed at the United States.”
South Korean outlet News 1 reported the North’s message not only clarified the objectives of its claimed hydrogen bomb test, but also circuitously took aim at the resumption of South Korea loudspeaker broadcasts across the demilitarized zone.
North Korea has been strongly opposed to the broadcasts that criticize the Kim Jong Un regime.
“Our hydrogen bomb test was a decisive and independent measure to cope with the threat of U.S. aggression,” North Korea stated, “The first criminal to make nuclear weapons, and use them – bringing about substantial nuclear disaster on the planet – is none other than the United States.”
Pyongyang said the United States has threatened “our people” for more than half a century with nuclear weapons and is cornering the Korean peninsula into nuclear war “to this day,” adding the annual joint military exercises Key Resolve and Ulchi Freedom Guardian were preparations for war against the North.
Pyongyang’s nuclear test in early January, its fourth since 2006, placed U.S., South Korea forces on highest alert.
But the percentage of South Koreans who said the test posed a threat to peace on the Korean peninsula has decreased, according to a recent Gallup Korea poll.
A survey of 1,005 South Koreans taken between Jan. 12 and 14 indicated 60 percent believed North Korea’s provocations were a threat to peace, down from 76 percent in 2013, when Pyongyang announced its third test.
The threat is compelling for the majority of those surveyed – 54 percent said South Korea should also possess nuclear weapons as a deterrent, the poll showed.
South Koreans who identified themselves as conservative also regarded the test as a greater threat than those who said they were politically liberal.