N Korea must be ready for US-led invasion plots, says Kim Jong Un

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has urged his military to maintain constant combat readiness to counteract perceived invasion plans by rivals, after the US, South Korea, and Japan conducted a trilateral naval exercise to address North Korea’s changing nuclear threats, state media reported on Tuesday.

Since the previous week, the US and South Korean militaries have been conducting separate summer bilateral exercises. North Korea perceives these exercises involving the US as rehearsals for invasion, while Washington and its allies assert that their drills are defensive.

Kim said in a speech marking the country’s Navy Day on Monday that the waters off the Korean Peninsula have been made unstable “with the danger of a nuclear war” because of US-led hostilities, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.

He also accused the US of intensifying naval exercises with allies and deploying strategic assets near the Korean Peninsula. He pointed to a recent summit involving the US, South Korea, and Japan, where they agreed to enhance defence cooperation to counter North Korea’s nuclear program.

Kim called President Joe Biden, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida “the gang bosses” of the three countries.

On Tuesday, naval destroyers from South Korea, the US and Japan engaged in drills in international waters near South Korea’s southern Jeju island. The training focused on perfecting protocols for identifying, monitoring, and exchanging information regarding potential North Korean missile threats. South Korea’s navy issued a statement outlining these objectives.

Earlier this month, the leaders of the US, South Korea, and Japan convened their first standalone trilateral summit at Camp David. In this meeting, they revealed plans to implement the sharing of real-time missile warning data regarding North Korea by the end of the year. Additionally, they announced their intention to conduct annual trilateral exercises.

In his Navy Day speech, Kim stated that various military units would receive new weaponry in accordance with the government’s decision to broaden the use of tactical nuclear weapons. He indicated that the navy would play a role as part of the state’s nuclear deterrence strategy, fulfilling a strategic duty.

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