North Korea has vowed a “war of revenge” against the U.S. in mass rallies attended by more than 120,000 people over the weekend, according to reports.
What happened: The rallies marked the 73rd anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War, when North Korea invaded South Korea in an attempt at unification under its command. The three-year war saw the Soviet Union and China back the North, while the U.S. and the rest of the United Nations supported the South.
Sunday’s 120,000 protesters included students and workers, according to state media. Photos showed them holding multiple signs, some of which translated to “The whole U.S. mainland is within our shooting range” and “The imperialist U.S. is the destroyer of peace.”
What North Korea is saying: Pyongyang’s version of the Korean War paints the U.S. as responsible for provoking the conflict, which left around 2.5 million people dead.
The rallies also came amid increased tensions in the Korean Peninsula as Pyongyang continues its weapons demonstrations while Washington and Seoul intensify joint military drills. On Sunday, state media reported that Pyongyang now has the “strongest absolute weapon to punish the U.S. imperialists and the war deterrence for self-defense which no enemy dare provoke.” In a separate report by its foreign ministry, the U.S. was accused of “making desperate efforts to ignite a nuclear war.”
What’s next: North Korea is expected to launch its first military reconnaissance satellite into orbit. It made the first attempt on May 31 but failed.
Meanwhile, U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken called South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin last week to provide updates on the outcome of his recent trip to China. The call reportedly included the issue of North Korea’s “increasingly destabilizing actions” in the region.