North Korea claims that in 1 day, 800,000 youths just up and decided to voluntarily join its army and fight the US
North Korea on Sunday claimed that 800,000 young people signed up to join the military in one day.
State media claimed the youths all volunteered out of fervor to fight the US and South Korea.
Even if this were true, it doesn't necessarily mean Pyongyang's army has 800,000 new soldiers, an expert says.
North Korea has claimed that 800,000 young officials and students volunteered to join its military — all in one day.
"According to a tally, more than 800,000 youth league officials and students across the country volunteered to join and rejoin the Korean People's Army (KPA) on March 17 alone," wrote Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of North Korea's ruling party, on Sunday.
The state newspaper described the enlistees as the "young vanguard," claiming that all 800,000 had "turned out at once in the struggle to defend the country and annihilate the enemy."
Among them are university students, working youths, and youth leaders, Rodong Sinmun wrote.
The state outlet also accused the "US imperialists and the South Korean puppet traitors" of trying to provoke a nuclear war.
Rodong Sinmun also claimed that the 800,000 youths who volunteered were "fully armed with the indomitable will of the Party to deal with the enemies and to settle accounts with the US."
Rodong Sinmun released four images of the supposed enlistment effort, which show crowds lining up to sign documents at a construction site and an amphitheater.
The outlet didn't specify the ages of the enlistees, nor did it say if the 800,000 were drafted under its conscription laws. North Korean men are required to serve 10 years in the military, while women have to serve three.
Even if North Korea did recruit 800,000 army personnel in a day, it may not mean that its military strength will increase by that amount, Gordon Kang, who researches North Korea at the East Asia Institute in Singapore, told Insider.
Many conscripts are typically sent to work hard labor at construction sites across the country, Kang said.
He added that Sunday's bombastic announcement is less useful as a true gauge of North Korea's military strength, and instead shows us the sort of propaganda that Kim Jong Un's regime wants to push.
"The underlying element here is that the focus on youth has been prevalent over the past year, past two years," said Kang. "Every few days or so there will be an article about how the youth are going through ideological training."
It's an attempt to convince the world that young people in North Korea are still aligned with Kim's ideology, even almost eight decades after his grandfather took power in 1948, said Kang.
Meanwhile, Pyongyang has more frequently been testing its nuclear-capable missiles in the last two years, including intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach the US.
On Sunday, North Korea launched another missile test that flew an estimated 500 miles east and fell into the ocean. The test took place after Washington and Seoul began conducting joint military drills in South Korea on March 13. The drills are expected to conclude on March 23.
North Korea currently has an estimated 1.15 million active-duty troops, including 950,000 army personnel, according to the CIA. It has a population of around 26 million, per the agency.
Read the original article on Business Insider