North Korea has defended its latest nuclear test, saying the fate of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya showed what happened when countries forsake their nuclear weapon ambitions.
It also warned South Korea, which resumed high-decibel propaganda broadcasts across the inter-Korean border in response to Wednesday’s test, that its actions were driving the divided peninsula to “the brink of war”.
A commentary published by the official KCNA news agency late on Friday said Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear test was a “great event” that provided North Korea with a deterrent powerful enough to secure its borders against all hostile forces, including the United States.
“History proves that powerful nuclear deterrence serves as the strongest treasured sword for frustrating outsiders’ aggression,” the commentary said.
North Korea said the test was of a miniaturized hydrogen bomb – a claim largely dismissed by experts who argue the yield was far too low for a full-fledged thermonuclear device.
The KCNA commentary said the current international situation resembled the “law of the jungle” where only the strongest survive.
“The Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq and the Gaddafi regime in Libya could not escape the fate of destruction after being deprived of their foundations for nuclear development and giving up nuclear programs of their own accord,” it said.
Both had made the mistake, the commentary argued, of yielding to Western pressure led by a United States bent on regime change.
Asking North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons was as pointless as “wishing to see the sky fall”, it said, adding that the entire country was proud of its “H-bomb of justice”.
The defiant message came as the international community scrambled to respond to North Korea’s latest test.
While UN Security Council members discuss possible sanctions, world leaders have sought to build a consensus on how best to penalize leader Kim Jong-un’s maverick state.
South Korea on Thursday took its own unilateral action by switching on giant banks of speakers on the border and blasting a mix of propaganda and K-pop into North Korea.
The same tactic, employed during a dangerous flare-up in cross-border tensions last year, had seen an infuriated Pyongyang threaten artillery strikes against the loudspeaker units unless they were switched off.
At a mass rally held on Friday in Pyongyang’s Kim Il-sung square to celebrate the test, senior North Korean ruling party official Kim Ki-nam said Seoul was once again playing with fire.
“The United States and its puppets have wasted no time in driving the situation on the peninsula to the brink of war, resuming their psychological warfare broadcast,” Kim said.