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Monday, February 6, 2023

North Korea vows to step up nuclear weapons programme

PoliticsNorth Korea vows to step up nuclear weapons programme

Pyongyang (Times Of Ocean)- In a defiant speech, Kim Jong-un pledged to boost the country’s nuclear arsenal at a military parade held in Pyongyang on Monday night.

In honor of the armed forces’ founding anniversary, the parade also displayed banned intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

North Korea tested its largest-known ICBM in March for the first time since 2017.

The international community strongly condemned the move.

After the test, the United States imposed several sanctions on North Korea. North Korea’s ICBMs extend the strike range of its nuclear weapons to the US mainland.

Besides hypersonic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles were also on display.

Kim, however, hasn’t been deterred by the condemnation so far.

“We will continue developing our nuclear capabilities at the fastest possible rate,” he said, adding that their nuclear forces “must be ready” to be used at any time, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

He said that North Korea’s nuclear weapons were fundamentally a deterrent tool against war, but they could also be used for other purposes. He echoed previous rhetoric that the country would strike back if attacked.

Images released by state media show the Hwasong-17 among the weapons displayed at the parade. The North Korean government claimed to have fired the massive ICBM for the first time in March.

Experts in South Korea have questioned the success of the launch.

Pyongyang demonstrates its new weapons at its military parades, which often feature long processions of tanks, artillery, and soldiers.

North Korea has tested several missiles this year, raising tensions on the peninsula, so Monday’s military parade was closely watched.

In addition, satellite images have shown North Korea resuming activity at its nuclear testing facility in Punggye-ri in March, raising fears that the country may resume testing nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

Recent election of South Korea’s new president, Yoon Suk-yeol, who has expressed a harsher line on North Korea’s actions, has strained relations with the North.

The South Korean defence minister said earlier this month that the South could strike the North’s missile launch points, which sparked a furious response from Pyongyang.

Kim Jong-un put in place a moratorium on long-range ballistic missile and nuclear tests based on talks with President Donald Trump in 2018.

Nevertheless, Mr Kim announced that he was no longer bound by this promise in 2020.

Furthermore, the Biden administration has repeatedly said it is willing to resume talks without preconditions, but it has so far shown little interest in engaging North Korea, which has demanded the lifting of sanctions.

He instead prioritized relations with South Korea and Japan, and backed South Korea’s outgoing president Moon Jae-in in smoothing relations between the two countries.

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