Kim Jong Un Warns of an 'Unexpected 2nd Mission'

North Korean leader vows to speed up nukes program, to use them if provoked
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 26, 2022 8:23 AM CDT
Kim Jong Un's Parade Speech: I'm Speeding Up Nuke Development
This pic reportedly shows a newly built ICBM, the Hwasong-17, during a military parade to mark the 90th anniversary of North Korea's army at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Monday. The content of the image is as provided by N. Korea's government and can't be independently verified.   (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to accelerate the development of nuclear weapons and threatened to use them if provoked, in a speech he delivered at a military parade that featured powerful missiles capable of targeting the country's rivals, state media reported Tuesday. Kim's remarks suggest he'll continue provocative weapons tests in a pressure campaign aimed at wresting concessions from the United States and its allies. The parade Monday night marked the 90th anniversary of North Korea's army—the backbone of the Kim family's authoritarian rule—and was held as the country's economy is battered by pandemic-related difficulties, punishing US-led sanctions, and its own mismanagement, per the AP. State media photos showed Kim, dressed in a white military ceremonial coat, smiling and waving from a balcony, along with his wife, Ri Sol Ju, and top deputies.

"[We] will continue to take measures for further developing the nuclear forces of our state at the fastest possible speed," Kim told his troops and the crowd gathered at a plaza in Pyongyang, the capital, reports the official Korean Central News Agency. He said North Korea could preemptively use its nuclear weapons when threatened by attacks and called for his nuclear forces to be fully prepared to go "in motion at any time." "The fundamental mission of our nuclear forces is to deter a war, but our nukes can never be confined to the single mission of war deterrent," he said. He added: "If any forces try to violate the fundamental interests of our state, our nuclear forces will have to decisively accomplish its unexpected second mission," which would leave any invading force "perished," he said.

The parade featured thousands of goose-stepping troops and several of North Korea's most powerful missiles. Some of the intercontinental ballistic missiles could put the US homeland well within range, and a variety of shorter-range solid-fuel missiles pose a growing threat to South Korea and Japan. One of the weapons showcased at the brightly illuminated Kim Il Sung Square was North Korea's biggest and newest ICBM, the Hwasong-17. North Korea claimed to have test-fired that missile successfully last month, but South Korea concluded the launch was of the smaller Hwasong-15 and that a launch of the Hwasong-17 had failed. Whichever weapon it was, the launch on March 24 was North Korea's first full-range ICBM flight test in more than four years and flew longer and higher than any other missile North Korea has previously launched.

(More North Korea stories.)

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