North Korea says 800,000 people enlist to fight ‘US imperialists’

Images released by Pyongyang’s official Rodong Sinmun showed young North Koreans waiting in long lines to sign their names at what looks like a construction site.

The latest report comes after Pyongyang test-fired its largest and most powerful missile, a Hwasong-17, on Thursday – its second ICBM test this year.

State media has described the launch as a response to the ongoing, “frantic” US-South Korea joint military drills.

On Saturday, KCNA said the ongoing drills were “inching close to the unpardonable red-line”.

Last year, North Korea declared itself an “irreversible” nuclear power, and leader Kim Jong Un recently called for an “exponential” increase in weapons production, including tactical nukes.

Kim earlier this month also ordered the North Korean military to intensify drills to prepare for a “real war”.

Pyongyang is using the drills to justify their nuclear weapons program domestically as “crucial and necessary”, Yang Moo-jin, president of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, told AFP.

This involves “spreading the idea that the South Korea-US military drills ultimately aim to destroy the current North Korean regime and even occupy its capital Pyongyang,” Yang added.

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