North Korea's Kim vows to bolster n.korea nuclear arsenal

North Korea's Kim vows to bolster n.korea nuclear arsenal

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promised to bolster his nuclear forces at maximum speed and threaten to use them if provoked in a speech he delivered during a military parade that featured a long-range missile and other weapons, state media reported Tuesday.

Kim said that the nuclear force's mission is to prevent war, but if an undesirable situation occurs on our land, our nuclear forces can't be limited to a single mission of preventing war.

If any forces try to infringe upon our fundamental interests, our nuclear forces will have no choice but to carry out its 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.

In recent months, Kim has been reviving nuclear brinkmanship aimed at forcing the United States to accept North Korea as a nuclear power and to remove crippling economic sanctions.

Analysts say that North Korea is exploiting favourable environment to push forward its weapons program, as the UN Security Council remains divided over Russia's war in Ukraine. Since the end of the year 2019 nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang have been stalled due to disagreements over US-led sanctions in exchange for North Korea's disarmament steps.

Kim has stuck to his goals of developing nuclear weapons and the country's dismal economy in the face of international pressure and has shown no willingness to 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 signs that 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 Kim.

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

The happiness and rosy future lies in the direction of the respected General Secretary Kim Jong Un. North Korea's recently tested weapons could potentially kill the US homeland, as well as South Korea and Japan.

The North has spent the past three years focusing on expanding its short-range arsenal targeting South Korea as negotiations with the United States stalled.

Kim's aggressive military push could also be motivated by domestic politics because he doesn't have significant accomplishments to show to his people as he marks a decade in power.

He didn't win much needed sanctions relief from his diplomacy with then-President Donald Trump, and the Covid-19 epidemic unleashed further shocks to the country's economy, forcing him to admit last year that North Korea was facing its worst-ever situation.