During celebrations he led on Monday, April 25, for the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un indicated that North Korea would expand its nuclear weaponry.

The North Korean Central News Agency quoted from a transcript of Jong-un’s speech where he said, “We will continue to take steps to strengthen and develop our nation’s nuclear capabilities at the fastest pace.” His speech occurred during the military parade in Pyongyang, where powerful intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) were on display.

The communist leader noted that the primary role of nuclear weapons is deterrence but warned that they could be used if the country’s “fundamental interests” were threatened.

“If any forces try to violate the fundamental interests of our state, our nuclear forces will have to decisively accomplish its unexpected second mission,” he said, according to the Daily Mail. 

According to the BBC, state media in North Korea broadcast images of the military parade where banned ICBMs were seen.

Additionally, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and hypersonic missiles were shown.

Despite the severe sanctions that North Korea faces over its nuclear weapons program, it has redoubled Jong-un’s military modernization campaign, testing a host of banned weapons this year.

Last month, Pyongyang tested an ICBM for the first time since 2017. In addition, satellite images show signs of activity at a nuclear test site, which was supposedly destroyed in 2018, before the first Trump-Jong-un summit.

The meetings between Kim Jong-un and then-President Donald Trump were in 2019, a period in which the North Korean country paused nuclear and long-range tests. But the former president’s efforts to denuclearize North Korea through diplomacy failed.

So far, diplomacy with the U.S. has stalled. President Biden said he would only lift sanctions if North Korea agreed to denuclearize. Meanwhile, the North Korean dictator has responded with more weapons tests, apparently increasingly sophisticated.

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