Kim Jong Un the North Korean leader reviewed a rare exhibition of weapons systems and vowed to build an “invincible” military, as he accused the United States of being the “root cause” of instability.
Kim gave the speech Monday at the “Defense Development Exhibition Self-Defense-2021”, an event meant to mark the previous day’s 76th birthday of the ruling Workers’ party. South Korean media reported it was the first such event held by North Korea .
Calling the United States a “source” of instability on the Korean peninsula, Kim said his country’s most important objective was possessing an “invincible military capability” that no one can dare challenge. The Biden administration has repeatedly stated it has no hostile intent towards the North, but Kim told the exhibition: “I am very curious if there are people or countries who believe that.”
Kim made the remarks standing in front of a variety of weapons, including a Hwasong-16 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), photos in the ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun showed . The Hwasong-16 is North Korea’s largest ICBM and was unveiled at a military parade in October 2020, but not yet test fired.
The two Koreas have been in an accelerating arms race with both sides testing increasingly advanced short-range ballistic missiles and other hardware. South Korea recently test fired its first submarine-launched ballistic missile, plans to build major new weapons include aircraft carriers, and has bought American-made F-35 stealth fighters.
The United States has said it is willing to hold diplomatic talks at any time with North Korea, Pyongyang has said it is not interested as long as Washington maintains policies such as sanctions and military activities in South Korea.