02:49 GMT04 June 2020
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    Pyongyang’s rhetoric escalates following new sanctions that the Kim regime says are tantamount to an act of war.

    In a statement Monday by North Korea’s official KCNA news agency, a spokesman for the country’s National Defense Commission (NDC) said the recent round of UN sanctions imposed on Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons program was "anachronistic and suicidal." The spokesman went on to say that the sanctions could trigger a nuclear strike against the US mainland, likening recent Western actions against North Korea as akin to the siege against Leningrad in World War II and Cuba during the Cold War.

    The strident rhetoric follows the UN Security Council’s  adoption of its toughest economic sanctions of North Korea to date, after Pyongyang conducted a fourth nuclear test in January, and a space rocket launch a month later, that analysts view as a disguised ballistic missile test. The North Korean population suffers from some of the worst poverty in the world, due to repeated ratcheting up of sanctions. Pyongyang views the additional measures as designed to undermine support for Kim Jong Un’s regime.

    "The Leningrad blockade, which struck terror into the hearts of people and the Caribbean crisis in the Cold War era, can hardly stand comparison with the situation," said the spokesman. "The US and other hostile forces are intent on attacking North Korea in a flock to swallow it up."

    In the statement on KCNA, a spokesperson said that, rather than breaking apart North Korea, the unprecedented economic sanctions would only strengthen the country’s resolve against their Western enemies. The statement also warned Washington that North Korea could "make a retaliatory nuclear strike at the US mainland any moment."
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    North Korea has increased its nuclear strike threats, citing breakthroughs in the miniaturization of nuclear warheads to enable the delivery of the weapons by ballistic missile, as well as their purported success in recent missile tests. Pyongyang’s rhetoric has become increasingly urgent after the US and South Korea began joint military exercises described by Pyongyang as a dress rehearsal for invasion.

    Notwithstanding the threats, US military analysts assert that North Korea is years away from being able to launch a nuclear missile strike against the continental United States. 


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