If North nukes South Korea, Kim Jong Un’s regime to go up in smoke, Seoul says

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Web Desk
The South Korean flag can be seen in this picture. — AFP/File
The South Korean flag can be seen in this picture. — AFP/File

Just a day after North Korea issued a warning to its neighbouring country on meeting the criteria when the nuclear weapons would be used, South Korea responded to the threats by saying that if nuclear weapons were used on its soil, it would bring an end to the Kim Jong Un’s regime in Pyongyang.

The tensions have risen since the nuclear-armed US submarine arrived South Korean port after perceiving increased threats from North Korea, leading to intense military cooperation with the US.

Pyongyang’s defence minister warned Thursday that this week’s port visit of a US nuclear-capable submarine to Busan — the first since 1981 — could meet the legal threshold for the North to use its nuclear weapons.

This picture taken on July 12, 2023, and released by North Koreas official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on July 13, 2023, shows the test firing of a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Hwasong-18 at an undisclosed location in North Korea. — AFP
This picture taken on July 12, 2023, and released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on July 13, 2023, shows the test firing of a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) "Hwasong-18" at an undisclosed location in North Korea. — AFP

As Seoul and Washington have "made clear" before, "any nuclear attack on the alliance will face an immediate, overwhelming and decisive response", Seoul’s defence ministry said in a statement Friday.

Were this to happen "the North Korean regime will face its end", it added.

The US submarine’s port visit is only a "legitimate defensive response" to Pyongyang’s ongoing nuclear threats, it said.

The submarine’s visit to Seoul was finalised when President Yoon Suk Yeol was on his trip to the US in April, where he and US President Joe Biden issued a stern warning to Pyongyang about the terminal consequences of using nuclear weapons.

US Ballistic Missile Submarine USS Kentucky is anchored at Busan Naval Base, in Busan, South Korea, July 19, 2023. — Reuters
US Ballistic Missile Submarine USS Kentucky is anchored at Busan Naval Base, in Busan, South Korea, July 19, 2023. — Reuters

The statement from South Korea comes after days when a US Private 2nd Class soldier Travis King entered North Korea after crossing the border, where he is believed to be detained.

The soldier was about to board the plane and then he joined the tour where he crossed the demilitarised zone entering the territory of the unknown world. Since then, there has been no word.

Last year, Kim Jong Un stated that the country’s status as a nuclear power was now "irreversible", effectively eliminating the possibility of denuclearisation talks.

A South Korean military guard post is seen from Imjingak peace park in the border city of Paju on July 19, 2023. — AFP
A South Korean military guard post is seen from Imjingak peace park in the border city of Paju on July 19, 2023. — AFP

Under its vague nuclear doctrine, Pyongyang could use its nukes if "an attack by nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction... is judged to draw near".

Analysts have said this could be used to justify the North’s possible nuclear use even in the face of conventional attacks.

"North Korea is the only entity that has adopted the Nuclear Forces Policy Act, which includes illegal preemptive strikes," Seoul’s defence ministry said Friday.

Pyongyang is also "repeating actual preemptive strike drills and nuclear strike threats against" the Seoul-Washington alliance, it added.

Washington and Seoul also held their first Nuclear Consultative Group meeting in Seoul Tuesday, to improve their joint response to any nuclear attack by the North.