North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un announced Monday that he is building an “invincible” military that will have the capability to launch a nuclear strike at the US — adding that its development serves to deter a “hostile” US causing instability in the region.
The leader of the Hermit Kingdom, flanked by an array of missiles at the Defense Development Exhibition, accused the US of “wrong judgments and actions,” in a marked change of posturing since the turnover from former President Donald Trump’s administration.
“The US has frequently signaled it’s not hostile to our state, but there is no action-based evidence to make us believe that they are not hostile,” Kim said. “The US is continuing to create tensions in the region with its wrong judgments and actions.”
Standing amid the arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles, Kim said the weapons are not intended to start a war but to protect North Korea.
“We are not discussing war with anyone, but rather to prevent war itself and to literally increase war deterrence for the protection of national sovereignty,” he said.
Images from the exhibition, meant to mark the 76th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers’ Party, show Kim wearing a dark suit and strolling down a red carpet as jet fighters fly in formation overhead.
The exhibition also showed off the country’s intercontinental ballistic missiles, including the Hwasong-16, North Korea’s largest rocket that was first unveiled at a military parade in October 2020 but has yet to be test-fired.
“Basically, North Korea wants to send this message: ‘We’ll continue to develop new weapons and arm ourselves with nuclear force, so don’t slap sanctions with these as we can’t agree on the double standards,’” Yang Wook, a military expert who teaches at South Korea’s Hannam University, told the Associated Press.
Kim also blasted neighboring South Korea for criticizing North Korea’s military buildup while it tests new rockets, but added that his weapons aren’t intended for Seoul.
“I say once again that South Korea isn’t the one that our military forces have to fight against,” Kim said. “Surely, we aren’t strengthening our defense capability because of South Korea. We shouldn’t repeat a horrible history of compatriots using force against each other.”
North Korea test-fired an anti-aircraft missile on Oct. 1 — its fourth weapons launch in a month — and reports say the country is expanding its uranium enrichment plant and has restarted a nuclear reactor.
Trump held a number of summits with Kim to try to denuclearize the peninsula, but the talks eventually faltered over the despot’s demand that sanctions be eased before he commits to reducing his arsenal.
President Biden has said he would be open to talks with Kim but the North Korean leader would have to agree to specific commitments up front.
”I would not give him all he’s looking for, international recognition as legitimate, and give him what allowed him to move in a direction of appearing to be more serious about what he wasn’t at all serious about,” Biden said in May.
With Post wires