North Korea says nearly 3.5m volunteer for People's Army as tensions rise

People walk up stairs before a propaganda poster showing Korean People's Army soldiers at a museum in Sinchon, south of Pyongyang.
People walk up stairs before a propaganda poster showing Korean People's Army soldiers at a museum in Sinchon, south of Pyongyang.PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (REUTERS) - North Korea said on Saturday (Aug 12) that nearly 3.5 million workers, party members and soldiers volunteered to join or rejoin its army to resist new UN sanctions and to fight against the United States, amid mounting geopolitical tensions between Pyongyang and Washington.

Rodong Sinmun, North Korea's official newspaper, said the volunteers had offered to join or rejoin the People's Army after the Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) issued a statement on Monday condemning new sanctions imposed by the United Nations in retaliation for North Korean missile tests.

Earlier this week, nuclear-armed North Korea threatened to strike the US and its Pacific territory of Guam.

KCNA said on Wednesday a mass rally was held in Pyongyang to support the government. North Korea has previously mobilised large crowds to show its resolve when tensions escalate.

In August 2015, one million North Koreans offered to enlist or re-enlist in the army when a mine exploded in the demilitarised zone between the two Koreas, raising tensions.

North Korea warned foreign diplomats to leave Pyongyang in 2013 when it suspended work at a joint inter-Korean industrial park and threatened missile strikes on US Pacific bases, notably in Guam and Hawaii.