North Korea: If Provoked, Would Fight U.S. Until 'There Would Be No One Left'

7-27-15 Kim Jong Un
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the 4th National Conference of Veterans in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency. KCNA/Reuters

There was no peace treaty at the end of the war between the Koreas. Instead, on July 27, 1953, an armistice signed by the U.S., China and North and South Korea brought the Korean War to a close. But for North Korea, the conflict, known as the Fatherland Liberation War, was an unmitigated triumph over the U.S. More than six decades later, the isolated nation marked the 62nd anniversary of the armistice with rhetoric indicating it's a war the country's leaders have not forgotten and that they're prepared to follow it up with force if provoked.

"Gone forever is the era when the United States blackmailed us with nukes; now the United States is no longer a source of threat and fear for us and we are the very source of fear for it," Kim Jong Un said in a speech in Pyongyang on Saturday, The Associated Press reported. The North Korean leader also emphasized the need to pass on "the same fighting spirit and devotion," from those old enough to have experienced the war to the younger generation, according to the wire service.

North Korean Army General Pak Yong Sik used still more ominous language when he spoke to high-ranking officials, veterans and diplomats on Sunday. "It is more than 60 years since the cease-fire on [the] land, but peace has not yet settled on it," said Pak, who reportedly became North Korea's equivalent to a defense minister after Hyon Yong Chol was executed for treason in April.

North Korea would fight until "there would be no one left to sign a surrender document," Pak said, if the U.S., which the country views as hostile, were to "provoke another war." Pak added that "the past Korean War brought about the beginning of the downhill turn for the U.S., but the second Korean war will bring the final ruin to U.S. imperialism."

The anniversary comes on the heels of the U.S. reaching a nuclear deal with Iran, soon after which North Korea said it had no interest in a similar negotiation with Washington. "It is not logical to compare our situation with the Iranian nuclear agreement because we are always subjected to provocative U.S. military hostilities, including massive joint military exercises and a grave nuclear threat," the foreign ministry reportedly said in a statement last week. "We do not have any interest at all on dialogue for unilaterally freezing or giving up our nukes."

Still, Sydney Seiler, the U.S. special envoy for "six-party talks" met with officials in Seoul on Monday to discuss returning to the stalled negotiations regarding North Korea's nuclear program, and he's scheduled to travel to China and Japan this week for additional meetings. (The six-party talks, launched in 2003, are negotiations among China, the United States, North and South Korea, Japan and Russia with the goal to put an end North Korea's nuclear program.) "The recent progress in our efforts at denuclearization with Iran provides an excellent example of the U.S. flexibility and willingness to engage with countries with whom we've had long-standing differences," Seiler said.