Pyongyang is actively expanding its weapons arsenal “to prevent war itself” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un claimed on Monday while standing next to an intimidating display of the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missiles, North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Tuesday.
“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,” Kim said on October 11.
“Our enemy is war itself, not a certain country or forces like South Korea and the U.S. But our external efforts for peace does not in any way mean giving up our rights to self-defense,” he added.
The North Korean leader made the remarks during a speech at a defense development exhibition in Pyongyang to mark the 76th founding anniversary of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK). The communist WPK is both North Korea’s founding and ruling political party.
Kim stood next to a weapons display during his anti-war speech on Monday, as seen in photos published by the WPK-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun. The exhibition included the Hwasong-16, North Korea’s largest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which Pyongyang first unveiled at a military parade last October. U.S. and South Korean military observers believe North Korea has yet to test-fire the Hwasong-16.
“The United States has been frequently signaling that it’s not hostile to our country, but there has been no behavioral ground to believe that it is not,” Kim said on October 11, as quoted by South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency. “For our descendants, we need to be strong. We need to first be strong.”
“The military threats our country is facing is different from what we saw ten, five, or three years ago,” Kim observed.
The Korean Peninsula’s geopolitical tensions will not be easily solved “due to the U.S.,” he added.
Kim said South Korea’s continued efforts to boost its own military capabilities while outwardly claiming to desire “peace, cooperation, and prosperity” demonstrated Seoul’s “hypocritical” nature and penchant for “double standards.”
Expressing “strong regrets” over the current state of affairs, Kim said Pyongyang will respond with “strong actions” if South Korea continues to “infringe upon our rights to self-defense.”
Kim reiterated his claim that North Korea seeks peace with South Korea despite Pyongyang’s weapons development. He said his country was enhancing its defense capabilities like any other nation and was not targeting Seoul with its military enhancements. He recalled the “horrific history” of the Korean War (1950-1953) and argued that this type of conflict should not be repeated “on this land.”