The North Korea state newspaper Rodong Sinmun, reported on September 28 that 4.7 million of its citizens had volunteered to join or re-enlist in the military, USA Today reports.
This display of solidarity reportedly came as the Korean leader Kim Jong-un issued a statement vowing to take action in response to US president Donald Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea.
When North Korea’s tensions with the U.S. heightened, Pyongyang usually claimed that its young citizens voluntarily enlisted in the military in its propaganda campaigns aimed at bolstering internal solidarity. North Korea made a similar assertion last month when it condemned the U.N. Security Council for adopting US-led resolutions over Pyongyang’s launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in July, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.
Washington Post claims that it is difficult to accurately asses the size of the North Korean military to an outside observer. However most estimates suggest that North Korea has an unusually large number of armed forces personnel for its population of 25 million. The U.S. State Department has estimated that North Korea had more than 1.18 million armed forces personnel in 2014, making it the fourth-largest army in the world after China (2.37 million), India (1.41 million) and the United States (1.43 million).
The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to ban North Korean textile exports and cap fuel supplies following the North’s sixth nuclear test earlier this month.
It came amid increasing diplomatic pressure on North Korea, after the country launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles, flew midrange missiles over Japan and conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test.