Kim Says He Won't Limit Nuclear Arms to Deterrence

North Korean leader says development of weapons will continue quickly
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 30, 2022 12:10 PM CDT
Kim: Future Nuclear Strike Could Be Preemptive
In a photo provided by the North Korean government, Kim Jong Un acknowledges the officers and soldiers who took part in a celebration of the nation's army on Wednesday.   (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned again that his nation could preemptively use its nuclear weapons if threatened, as he praised his top army officials for a large military parade in the capital, Pyongyang, this week, the AP reports. Kim expressed the "firm will" to continue developing his nuclear-armed military so that it could "preemptively and thoroughly contain and frustrate all dangerous attempts and threatening moves, including ever-escalating nuclear threats from hostile forces, if necessary," the North's official Korean Central News Agency said Saturday.

KCNA said Kim called his military officials to praise their work during Monday's parade, where the North showcased the biggest weapons in its nuclear arsenal, including intercontinental ballistic missiles that could potentially reach the US homeland. The North also rolled out a variety of shorter-range solid-fuel missiles designed to be fired from land vehicles or submarines, which pose a growing threat to South Korea and Japan. KCNA didn't say when Kim's meeting with military brass took place. The parade marked the 90th anniversary of North Korea's army.

Speaking to thousands of troops and spectators mobilized for the parade, Kim vowed to develop his nuclear forces at the "fastest possible speed" and threatened to use them if provoked. He said his nuclear weapons would "never be confined to the single mission of war deterrent" in situations where the North faces external threats to its "fundamental interests." Kim's comments suggested he would continue a provocative run in weapons testing to dial up the pressure on Washington and Seoul. South Korea will inaugurate a conservative government in May that could take a harder line on Pyongyang following the engagement polices of outgoing President Moon Jae-in that produced few results. North Korea has conducted 13 rounds of weapons launches this year, including its first full-range test of an ICBM since 2017.

(More North Korea stories.)

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