North Korea has held mass rallies in Pyongyang condemning the “imperialism” of the United States and promising a “war of revenge” as the country marked the 73rd anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War.
About 120,000 young people and workers took part in the rallies, which were held across the capital, state news agency KCNA reported on Monday. The secretaries of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea also attended.
Photos showed a stadium crowded with people, many of them wearing white shirts. Some were marching and punching the air with their right hands. Others were holding placards reading: “The whole US mainland is within our shooting range” and “The imperialist US is the destroyer of peace”.
The Korean War began on June 25, 1950, when North Korea invaded South Korea in an attempt to reunite the Korean Peninsula under Pyongyang. The invasion led to a three-year war – pitting Soviet and China-backed northern troops against US-led United Nations forces – that killed an estimated 2 million people.
Sunday’s anniversary of the war, which ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty, follows a flurry of weapons testing by nuclear-armed North Korea, including an attempt to put its first military spy satellite into orbit. That effort ended in failure on May 31 but Pyongyang has promised to make a second launch attempt at an unspecified date.
A crowd of North Koreans punch the air at a rally to denounce the US. A poster behind them shows an illustration of three armed North Korean soldiers against a red background. The slogan reads: Tens of millions of people pledge to defy death for defending the country!
People punch the air near a poster reading: “Tens of millions of people pledge to defy death for defending the country!” [Jon Chol Jin/AP Photo]
North Korea now had “the strongest absolute weapon to punish the US imperialists” and the “avengers on this land are burning with the indomitable will to revenge the enemy”, KCNA said.
This year’s spate of weapons testing included Pyongyang’s first solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile as leader Kim Jong Un moves ahead with his plan to modernise the military and develop an ever more powerful arsenal of weapons.
Kim has justified the buildup as necessary for North Korea’s self-defence, pointing to military drills held by South Korea and the US.
In a separate foreign ministry report, North Korea claimed the US was “making desperate efforts to ignite a nuclear war” and accused Washington of sending strategic assets to the region.
Denuclearisation talks have been stalled since 2019 when a high-profile summit between Kim and then-US President Donald Trump collapsed over sanctions.