On Monday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to build an “invincible” military to protect against the perceived U.S. hostilities in the region.
“The U.S. 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 Associated Press reported. “The U.S. is continuing to create tensions in the region with its wrong judgments and actions.”
Kim went on to say his country’s most important goal going forward is to possess an “invincible military capability” that no one can challenge.
Kim delivered his remarks as he reviewed North Korea’s missile arsenal, including nuclear missiles capable of reaching U.S. troops.
The weapons exhibition was the first of its kind since Kim took office in 2011, the Associated Press reported. The exhibition was meant to coincide with the 76th anniversary of the founding of North Korea’s ruling communist Korean Workers’ Party on Sunday.
Lee Choon Geun, a missile expert at South Korea’s Science and Technology Policy Institute, said the weapons exhibition included ballistic missiles that can be launched from submarines or trains, short-range missiles with solid-fuel propellants and a still under-development hypersonic missile that saw its first test launch in September.
Yang Wook, a military expert who teaches at South Korea’s Hannam University, also told the Associated Press the exhibition included a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that North Korea showcased in a military parade last year but which has yet to be test-fired. The missile, which was seen in last year’s parade mounted on an 11-axle mobile launcher vehicle is considered North Korea’s largest ICBM developed.
While warning against what he described as hostility and instability from the U.S., Kim said his military systems are not meant for a fight with South Korea and that there shouldn’t be another war between the Korean people.
“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.”
Kim also accused South Korea of hypocrisy for criticizing the North’s weapons development while expanding its own military.
Yang told the Associated Press, “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.”