North Korea threatens Japan over 'very dangerous' military buildup

Japan last week announced its biggest military build-up since World War Two as tension with China and a hostile North Korea and Russia's Ukraine invasion stoke fears of war.

 North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his daughter attend a photo session with the scientists, engineers, military officials and others involved in the test-fire of the country's new Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in this undated photo released on November 27, 2022. (photo credit: KCNA VIA REUTERS)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his daughter attend a photo session with the scientists, engineers, military officials and others involved in the test-fire of the country's new Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in this undated photo released on November 27, 2022.
(photo credit: KCNA VIA REUTERS)

North Korea on Tuesday condemned a Japanese military buildup outlined in a new security strategy, warning that Japan would soon see the consequences of its dangerous decision, while also hinting at a technical advance in its long-range missile system.

Japan last week announced its biggest military build-up since World War Two as tension with China and a hostile North Korea and Russia's Ukraine invasion stoke fears of war.

North Korea's foreign ministry said Japan had effectively formalized "the capability for preemptive attack" with its new strategy that would bring a fundamental change to East Asia's security environment.

"The DPRK makes it clear once again that it has the right to take a resolute and decisive military step to defend its national sovereignty, territorial integrity and fundamental interests in the light of the complexity of the regional security environment caused by Japan's action," the official said in a statement carried by the North's KCNA news agency.

The spokesman referred to North Korea by the initials of its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

 North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a convocation of the Expansion of the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea in this photo released by the country's Korean Central News Agency on June 22, 2022. (credit: KCNA VIA REUTERS) North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a convocation of the Expansion of the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea in this photo released by the country's Korean Central News Agency on June 22, 2022. (credit: KCNA VIA REUTERS)

Japan would realize "it made a wrong and very dangerous" decision, the spokesperson said, referring to a "shuddering shiver to be felt soon."

North Korea tests out boundaries

North Korea has tested an unprecedented number of missiles this year, including an ICBM designed to reach the US mainland, in defiance of international sanctions.

Several of the North Korean missiles have flown over Japan, or landed in waters near it, drawing condemnation from the staunch US ally.

The North Korean spokesperson also criticized the United States for "conniving and instigating Japan's rearmament and reinvasion scheme" saying the United States had no right to question North Korea's defenses.

In a separate statement, Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, hinted at a technological advance in its ICBM system, and denounced questions over what North Korea said was its bid to develop a spy satellite.

North Korea fired two medium-range ballistic missiles off its east coast on Sunday in what it called an "important" test for the development of a reconnaissance satellite that it hopes to complete by April.

Experts have raised doubts over the level of North Korea's satellite technology but Kim Yo Jong derided the questions and suggested that North Korea's technical abilities included new ICBM developments.

 An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is launched in this undated photo released on November 19, 2022 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). (credit: KCNA VIA REUTERS) An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is launched in this undated photo released on November 19, 2022 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). (credit: KCNA VIA REUTERS)

North Korea has test-fired its ICBMs at a steep angle and analysts say a normal launch angle requires more sophisticated technology to resist heat generated during re-entry into the atmosphere.

"I can clear up their doubt about it," Kim Yo Jong said. "They will immediately recognize it in case we launch an ICBM in the way of a real angle firing straight off."

Kim Yo Jong dismissed any threat of new sanctions.

"At this time when our right to existence and development is being threatened, how can we stop our advance for fear of sanctions that we have experienced abominably, not for the first time," she said.