North Korean army sees massive volunteer boost – state media
Hundreds of thousands of young people in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have expressed willingness to enlist in the armed forces, the country’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Saturday. The outlet said this was due to aggressive US posturing toward North Korea, which was “reaching the limit that can no longer be tolerated.”
The KCNA claimed that on Friday alone “over 800,000 Youth League officials and young students across the country ardently petitioned for enlistment and military service in the People’s Army.” According to the report, that number “continues to increase throughout the country.”
The state-run outlet named Kim Il-sung University, Kim Chaek University of Technology, Hamhung University of Chemical Technology, and Nampo Normal University among the educational facilities where students have volunteered to serve in the military.
The young people’s “zeal” comes at a time when American “war maniacs” as well as “their puppet traitors,” – an apparent reference to South Korea – were embarking on an effort to destroy the North, the agency said. The report accused the two allies of “aggressively violating” Pyongyang’s sovereignty and security interests “to the greatest extent in history.”
On Thursday, North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un oversaw the launch of a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), saying the show of force was intended to “strike fear into enemies” and to “deter war,” as quoted by the KCNA.
Pyongyang conducted three other ballistic missile tests earlier this week.
Explaining the need for the uptick in testing, Kim cited American and South Korean “open hostility toward the DPRK” which has manifested itself in the two nations staging “reckless” and “large-scale” exercises on the Korean Peninsula.
Pyongyang has repeatedly stated that it views such drills by Washington and Seoul as preparation for an attack.
Codenamed ‘Freedom Shield,’ the maneuvers kicked off on Monday and are set to continue into next week. The two allies have described the drill as the largest of its kind in five years, and blamed the North for destabilizing actions they say warrant increased readiness.
The US and South Korea have already held several other military exercises this year, some of them involving B-52H strategic bombers.