North Korean state media reported Tuesday that leader Kim Jong Un has declared the goal of obtaining an “invincible military capability” that no one, including the United States, would challenge. The comments came as Kim went after the U.S., calling them a “source” of instability to the Korean Peninsula at a rare exhibition of weapons systems Monday. The video above shows clips from the exhibition.
“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, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). “The U.S. is continuing to create tensions in the region with its wrong judgments and actions.”
Kim stopped short of saying the North Korean military goal is to target South Korea, who has been collaborating with the U.S. on North Korea.
“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.”
However, Kim did accuse South Korea of hypocrisy, saying the country criticizes North Korea’s weapons development while spending heavily to increase the South’s own military capabilities.
According to the KCNA, Monday’s exhibition was meant to mark the 76th birthday of the ruling Workers’ Party the day prior. South Korean officials said the exhibition was first of its kind since Kim took power in late 2011.
Experts say the exhibition featured an array of newly developed weapons, including intercontinental ballistic missiles North Korea has already test-launched or displayed during military parades in recent years. A military expert in South Korea said the weapons include what appears to be the North’s biggest-yet ICBM.
According to a South Korean missile expert, other weapons on display include:
- Another ICBM that North Korea tested in 2017.
- Ballistic missiles that can be fired from submarines or a train.
- Solid-fueled, short-range missiles.
- A developmental hypersonic missile that had its first test-flight last month.
“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,’” military expert Yang Wook said.
Seoul’s Defense Ministry said South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities were analyzing the North Korean weapons displayed. The ministry didn’t elaborate.