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North Korea claims nearly 800,000 have signed up to fight the US

SEOUL, March 18 (Reuters) – North Korea claims about 800,000 of its citizens have voluntarily joined or re-enlisted in the country’s military to fight against the United States, the North Korean state newspaper reported on Saturday.

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

“The rising enthusiasm of young people to join the army is a demonstration of the unshakable will of the younger generation, the war-obsessed, who are making last-ditch efforts to eliminate, mercilessly annihilate our precious socialist country and achieve the great cause of national reunification without fail failure and a clear manifestation of their fierce patriotism,” said Rodong Sinmun from the North.

The North’s claim came after North Korea launched its Hwasong-17 ICBM on Thursday in response to ongoing military exercises between the US and South Korea.

North Korea fired the ICBM between the Korean peninsula and Japan on Thursday, hours before the South Korean president flew to Tokyo for a summit to discuss ways to counter the nuclear-armed north.

The North’s ballistic missiles are banned by United Nations Security Council resolutions, and the launch has been condemned by governments in Seoul, Washington and Tokyo.

South Korean and American forces on Monday began 11-day joint exercises dubbed “Freedom Shield 23” on a scale not seen since 2017 to counter growing threats to the North.

Kim accused the United States and South Korea of ‚Äč‚Äčincreasing tensions with the military exercises.

Reporting by Heekyong Yang; Editing by David Gregorio and Sonali Paul

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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