N Korea’s Kim: US, S Korea Threaten Peace with Arms Buildup
By Staff- Agencies
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stressed that his country’s weapons development is necessary in the face of ‘hostile’ policies from the United States and a military buildup in South Korea that is destabilizing the peninsula.
Pyongyang was only increasing its military in self-defense and not to start a war, Kim said in a speech at the Defense Development Exhibition, according to a report on Tuesday by state news agency KCNA.
“The United States has been frequently signaling that it’s not hostile to our country, but there has been no behavioral ground to believe that it is not,” Kim was quoted as saying by KCNA.
He further added: “For our descendants we need to be strong. We need to first be strong. The military threats our country is facing is different from what we saw 10, five or three years ago,” he said, adding that tensions on the Korean peninsula will not be easily resolved “due to the US”.
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.
“We are not discussing war with anyone, but rather to prevent war itself and to literally increase war deterrence for the protection of national sovereignty,” he added.
The two Koreas have been in an accelerating arms race, with both sides testing increasingly advanced short-range ballistic missiles and other hardware.
Last week, Pyongyang and Seoul reconnected their cross-border hotline in a sign of thawing ties, with only a few months left in office for the South’s pro-engagement President Moon Jae-in.
But Kim accused Seoul of “reckless ambition” and a “two-faced, illogical” attitude.
Their “unrestricted and dangerous attempts to strengthen military power are destroying the military balance on the Korean peninsula and increasing military instability and danger,” he added.
“Under the absurd pretext of suppressing our threats, South Korea has openly expressed its desire to gain an edge over us in military power on various occasions.”