A noticeably slimmer Kim Jong Un of North Korea laid out plans to build an “invincible” military to defend against what he charged as the persistent hostile threat from the United States. The comments came during a Monday speech at a North Korean weapons exhibition, which analysts have said is a rare venue compared to the usual state venues for such a speech.
With a variety of large missiles surrounding him at the indoor expo dubbed ‘Self-Defense 2021’ in the capital of Pyongyang, he said “The US 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,” and made the accusation: “The US is continuing to create tensions in the region with its wrong judgments and actions.”
That’s when he said that in the face of this US “source” of instability on the Korean Peninsula, the north will prioritize attaining to “invincible military capability” that no powerful country can possibly challenge, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.
The speech is being widely interpreted as having an aim of driving a wedge between Washington and Seoul, also given Kim underscored that Korean peoples shouldn’t be fighting each other. At the same time he stressed there was “no action-based basis” to make Pyongyang believe the US has good intentions.
“We are not discussing war with anyone, but rather to prevent war itself and to literally increase war deterrence for the protection of national sovereignty,” he said. International reports described some of the weapons on display as follows:
…the weapons in the photos include what appears to be a new ICBM that North Korea disclosed during a military parade last year but hasn’t test-fired…
Other weapons on display were another ICBM that North Korea tested in 2017; ballistic missiles that can be fired from submarines or a train; solid-fueled, short-range missiles; and a developmental hypersonic missile that had its first test-flight last month.
The past weeks have seen ramped up weapons testing activity out of North Korea, after a first half of the year which was relatively quiet on the Korean peninsula (which was also Biden’s first six months in office). At the weapons exhibit from which Kim’s fiery speech was given, a number of recently tested weapons, including ICBMs, were on display.
An ABC News report cited one South Korean missile expert, Lee Choon Geun, who advises government officials as saying of the occasion, “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.’“