North Korea claims almost 800,000 have signed up to fight against US

The North's ballistic missiles are banned under United Nations Security Council resolutions and the launch drew condemnation from governments in Seoul, Washington and Tokyo.

 North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches as missiles are displayed during a military parade to mark the 75th founding anniversary of North Korea's army, at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea February 8, 2023, in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). (photo credit: KCNA/REUTERS)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches as missiles are displayed during a military parade to mark the 75th founding anniversary of North Korea's army, at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea February 8, 2023, in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
(photo credit: KCNA/REUTERS)

North Korea claims that about 800,000 of its citizens volunteered to join or reenlist in the nation's military to fight against the United States, North Korea's state newspaper reported on Saturday.

About 800,000 students and workers, on Friday alone, across the country expressed a desire to enlist or reenlist in the military to counter the United States, the Rodong Sinmun newspaper reported.

"The soaring enthusiasm of young people to join the army is a demonstration of the unshakeable will of the younger generation to mercilessly wipe out the war maniacs making last-ditch efforts to eliminate our precious socialist country, and achieve the great cause of national reunification without fail and a clear manifestation of their ardent patriotism," the North's Rodong Sinmun said.

Responding to US-South Korean military drills

The North's claim came after North Korea on Thursday launched its Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in response to ongoing US-South Korea military drills.

North Korea fired the ICBM into the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan on Thursday, hours before South Korea's president flew to Tokyo for a summit that discussed ways to counter the nuclear-armed North.

 A general view of fire assault drill at an undisclosed location in North Korea March 10, 2023 in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).  (credit: KCNA VIA REUTERS) A general view of fire assault drill at an undisclosed location in North Korea March 10, 2023 in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). (credit: KCNA VIA REUTERS)

The North's ballistic missiles are banned under United Nations Security Council resolutions and the launch drew condemnation from governments in Seoul, Washington and Tokyo.

South Korean and American forces began 11 days of joint drills, dubbed "Freedom Shield 23," on Monday, held on a scale not seen since 2017 to counter the North's growing threats.

Kim accused the United States and South Korea of increasing tensions with the military drills.