North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has confirmed that his country will be able to “pre-emptively” use nuclear weapons if it is threatened, the official North Korean Central News Agency reported today.
According to a statement, Kim expressed his “firm will” to continue developing the nuclear forces in order to “preventive and complete containment and thwart all dangerous attempts and threatening actions, including the growing nuclear threats from hostile forces.”
Kim was speaking at a meeting in which he praised North Korea’s top military leaders for holding a military parade in the capital, Pyongyang, on April 25 to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the country’s armed forces.
In a speech during the parade, Kim promised to increase the country’s nuclear capabilities “as quickly as possible”, in the face of a “turbulent political and military context and various crises to come.”
Experts at the US Center for Strategic and International Studies said Friday that “preparations are underway” for a new North Korean nuclear test, which would be the first since 2017.
An analysis of satellite imagery this week showed a high volume of activity at North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test center in the country’s northeast, according to CSIS.
The entrances to several test tunnels were demolished by the North Korean regime in 2018, in a gesture to facilitate dialogue with the United States at the start of diplomatic talks.
Dialogue with Washington has been suspended since the failed 2019 Hanoi summit between Kim Jong Un and former US President Donald Trump.
The CIA said: “While some sources indicate that the seventh nuclear test could be conducted between May and September this year, the date of the seventh nuclear test will undoubtedly depend solely on the personal decision” of Kim Jong Un.
Despite severe international sanctions, North Korea is stepping up its efforts to modernize the military and since earlier this year has been testing weapons banned under international treaties.
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