(CNN) — North Korea’s weapons are necessary to defend the country against a “hostile” United States, leader Kim Jong Un said, state media KCNA reported on Tuesday.
Kim made the remarks while standing in front of a missile backdrop at the Defense Development Exhibition to mark the 76th anniversary of the North Korean Workers’ Party.
“The United States has frequently been sending signals that they are not hostile towards our country, but there is not a single piece of evidence that they are not hostile,” Kim said, accusing the United States of causing instability on the Korean peninsula.
Photos from the exhibition, released by KCNA, appear to show an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that analysts believe is the Hwasong-16, one of the world’s largest ballistic missiles, first displayed at a military parade. in October 2020.
A hypersonic glide vehicle is also shown, allowing missiles to theoretically fly as fast as 20 times the speed of sound and can be highly maneuverable in flight, making them nearly impossible to shoot down, according to experts. Last month, North Korea claimed it had successfully tested a new hypersonic missile, called the Hwasong-8, but its exact specifications are not yet known.
The South Korean military said that after launch, the missile appears to be in early development and would take considerable time to deploy.
Jeffrey Lewis, a professor and nuclear weapons expert at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies, said the exhibition focused on “the wide range of new missiles developed over the past five years” in North Korea.
“The exhibit prominently features a gigantic missile that North Korea displayed in a parade last year and is likely intended to carry multiple nuclear warheads,” he said. “It is both a display of past achievements and a warning of what is to come.”
Describing missiles as “our precious (weapons)”, Kim said that all countries should maintain strong military power even in peacetime, since self-defense capacity is “the root of existence and security for development. of a nation, “KCNA reported.
He blamed the United States for “increasing tensions in the region with its poor decision-making” and accused Washington of being antagonistic to North Korea.
Kim also said that South Korea’s “hypocritical attitude” of building its own weapons while “chaining (North Korea) to the illegal and ruthless UN resolution and the tacit protection of the United States” was damaging sentiment. emotional between the Koreas.
Pyongyang is prohibited from testing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons under international law. Previous tests have been met with international shame and United Nations Security Council sanctions.
South Korea’s weapons development, including its missile capabilities, has accelerated as the country grows more wary of North Korea’s growing missile program and as Seoul tries to become less dependent on the United States.
Last month, Seoul tested a new ballistic missile (SLBM) from a submerged 3,700-ton submarine, according to the South Korean Ministry of Defense.
“We express our deepest regret for South Korea’s reckless ambition and its double-standard, illogical and robbery-like attitude that promotes injustice to the other side,” Kim added, referring to the South’s latest weapons developments.
The North Korean leader said that the “main enemy of the country is the war itself”, not South Korea or the United States.
But he warned that North Korea will not tolerate further attempts to undermine its right to self-defense.
“As long as South Korea does not put us at risk and does not interrupt the exercise of our sovereignty, I assure you that there will be no tensions on the Korean peninsula,” Kim said.