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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to bolster his nuclear forces at "maximum speed" and threatened to use them if provoke. Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP
North Korea

Kim Jong Un vows to bolster nuclear force capability

The North Korean leader made the remarks in a speech he delivered during a military parade.

NORTH KOREAN LEADER Kim Jong Un vowed to bolster his nuclear forces at “maximum speed” and threatened to use them if provoked.

He made the remarks in a speech he delivered during a military parade that featured a long-range missile and other weapons, state media reported today. 

The parade last night was to mark the 90th anniversary of North Korea’s army — the backbone of the Kim family’s authoritarian rule — and comes as the country faces pandemic-related difficulties while seeking relief from US-led sanctions imposed over its nuclear ambitions.

“We will continue to implement measures aimed at strengthening and developing our country’s nuclear forces at the maximum speed,” he told his troops and the crowd gathered for the parade at a Pyongyang plaza, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

“The fundamental mission of our nuclear forces is to deter war, but if an undesirable situation emerges on our land, our nuclear forces cannot be limited to a single mission of preventing war,” Kim Jong Un said.

“If any forces, regardless of who they are, try to infringe upon our fundamental interests, our nuclear forces will have no choice but to absolutely carry out its unexpected second mission.”

The parade featured marching troops and an array of modern weapons including a missile potentially capable of reaching the US homeland as well as tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery pieces and multiple rocket launchers, according to KCNA.

Nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang have been stalled since 2019 because of disagreements over the potential easing of US-led sanctions in exchange for North Korean disarmament steps.

The North Korean leader has stuck to his goals of simultaneously developing nuclear weapons and the country’s dismal economy in the face of international pressure and has shown no willingness to fully surrender a nuclear arsenal he sees as his biggest guarantee of survival.

North Korea has conducted 13 rounds of weapons tests this year, including its first flight test of an intercontinental ballistic missile since 2017.

There are also signs North Korea is rebuilding tunnels at a nuclear testing ground that was last active in 2017, possibly in preparation for exploding a nuclear device.

On Monday, official newspapers in North Korea ran editorials calling for stronger public support for the leader.

“The respected Comrade Kim Jong Un is the symbol of the mightiness of our party, state and revolutionary armed forces and the representative of their great dignity,” the main Rodong Sinmun newspaper said.

“All happiness and rosy future lie in following the respected General Secretary Kim Jong Un.”

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