For the first time in 6 years, South Korea labels North Korea as its ‘enemy’, estimates plutonium stockpile at 70kg


South Korea has called North Korea its enemy today for the first time in six years, reviving the label in a biennial defence document that also reported an increase in Pyongyang’s stockpile of weapons-grade plutonium

South Korea released its latest defence white paper on Thursday, February 16 describing North Korea as its ‘enemy.’

‘North Korea doesn’t give up its nukes and is persistently posing military threats to us, so the North Korean government and military … is our enemy,’ read the 2022 defence white paper, published on Thursday.

The ‘enemy’ label is the first time South Korea is using that term to refer to North Korea since 2016.South Korea also reported an increase in Pyongyang’s stockpile of weapons-grade plutonium.

The biennial white paper offers a glimpse into North Korea’s growing arsenal of nuclear weapons and missiles, as well as its conventional military capabilities.

Missiles are displayed during a military parade to mark the 75th founding anniversary of North Korea’s army, at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea February 8, 2023, in this photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

South Korea cited Pyongyang’s ongoing weapons development, cyber and military provocations for it’s portrayal of the South as an ‘enemy.’

‘As North Korea continues to pose military threats without giving up nuclear weapons, its regime and military, which are the main agents of the execution, are our enemies,’ the document said.

To beef up its nuclear stockpile, North Korea has continued reprocessing spent fuel from its reactor and possesses about 70kg (154lb) of weapons-grade plutonium, up from 50kg estimated in the previous report, the new report said.

‘The North has also secured “substantial” amounts of highly enriched uranium” and ‘significant level of capability’ to miniaturise atomic bombs though six nuclear tests, a description that remains unchanged since 2018.

‘Our military is strengthening surveillance as the possibility of an additional nuclear test is rising,’ the paper said, citing the restoration last year of previously destroyed tunnels at the North’s testing site.

The document also cited North Korea’s passing of a new law that authorises the pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons in a broad range of scenarios, and the fact that in December, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called South Korea ‘our undoubted enemy‘ in a speech at a key ruling party meeting.North Korea conducted an unprecedented number of missile tests in 2022, including simulated nuclear attacks on South Korea.

The paper said the North violated a 2018 inter-Korean military pact banning hostilities 15 times last year alone, including its drone intrusion in December, artillery fire inside a military buffer zone and missiles launched across the de facto maritime border into the South in November.

The latest document noted Pyongyang’s 2022 launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles, including the new Hwasong-17 tested, but said further analysis was needed to verify whether it has acquired improved missile re-entry technology.

On Japan, the South Korean paper called it a ‘close neighbour that shares values’ for the first time since 2016.

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.


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