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N. Korea urging soldiers to become nuclear arsenal: report

All Headlines 18:06 August 30, 2016

SEOUL, Aug. 30 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is urging each of its soldiers to become a "nuclear arsenal" in the event of war breaking out on the Korean Peninsula, the U.S.-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) said Tuesday, citing sources from the reclusive country.

A source in North Hamgyong Province told RFA that the North Korean military issued the orders to soldiers during recent political lectures held in response to the ongoing joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States. The Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) exercise is underway, with 25,000 American forces and 50,000 Korean soldiers participating in the annual drill.

According to RFA, the North Korean military specifically urged young soldiers in their teens and 20s to attack the enemy's aircraft carriers wearing nuclear backpacks.

The source said the North Korean military has even made claims that "the enemy's aircraft carriers will capsize even if a nuclear backpack is detonated at a distance."

"This is aimed at reinforcing the psychological armament of North Korean soldiers and to prevent them from being afraid of war," the source said.

RFA said recently North Korea has newly established a battalion-sized nuclear backpack unit whose members are trained to infiltrate South Korea to detonate nuclear bombs.

The media outlet, however, said members of the unit did not know what their nuclear backpacks looked like.

In October last year, the North showed soldiers wearing backpacks bearing the radiation symbol during a military parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the North's ruling Workers' Party. Similar backpacks were seen during a military parade in 2013.

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