North Korea is not easing pressure. After starting a year full of military tests, the country’s leader Kim Jong-un promised on Monday to build up the country’s nuclear potential “at the fastest possible pace,” according to the state news agency KCNA.
During his speech, the dictator emphasized that the main task of his nuclear arsenal is deterrence in order to avoid a scenario of war, but he did not rule out its use as an offensive element in the event of an attack on “the fundamental interests of our state.” . In that case, he added, “our nuclear forces will have no choice but to carry out their second task.”
Kim did not rule out the use of nuclear weapons as an offensive element if his “core interests” were attacked.
Kim Jong Un’s speech was the culmination of a grand military parade that took place in Pyongyang on Monday evening to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean armed forces.
Known as the Korean Revolutionary Army, it was originally conceived as an anti-Japanese guerrilla organization organized by the country’s founder Kim Il Sung, also the grandfather of the current dictator.
It is estimated that some 20,000 soldiers participated in the night action, marching on foot and on horseback, shouting “Hurrah!” to your leader.
In addition, the pearls of his rich arsenal were shown, including tanks, helicopters or shells of various calibers.
The most applauded was the Hwasong-17, the longest-range intercontinental ballistic missile in his collection. Theoretically, this missile could reach 13,000 kilometers, which is enough to hit even the United States.
This is the same projectile that Pyongyang claims to have successfully tested on March 24, in a gesture that lifted the moratorium it itself imposed in 2017 on testing this type of weapon.
However, intelligence agencies in Seoul and Washington doubt that this is the weapon they used, and suspect that they actually fired the less advanced Hwaseong-15 missile, which was already tested in 2017.
Whether it’s one or the other, the regime’s long dozen ballistic tests this year and the harshness of its recent speeches confirm the hostility of the regime, which is looking to bolster its military strength and build strength for a possible future return to the negotiating table.
Negotiations on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula stalled after the failure of the 2019 Hanoi, Vietnamese summit between Kim and former US President Donald Trump.
Since then, little progress has been made, despite requests for renewed dialogue from the incoming Joe Biden administration that have so far gone unheeded.
Kim’s words come just days before South Korea’s new president, Yoon Seok-yeol, will officially take office on May 10.
During the election campaign, the conservative politician expressed his intention to join Washington’s policy and did not rule out strengthening sanctions against his northern neighbor.
These international sanctions and the strict border closures imposed by Pyongyang two years ago to prevent the entry of the coronavirus have thrown the country’s economy into serious trouble.
However, his authorities, who have not yet acknowledged a single infection, are not reluctant to organize large parades like yesterday’s to commemorate parties and important events in his history, shows of strength that serve outsiders to gain clues about his latest illness. military successes.
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