On October 11th, North Korea held an exhibition of weapons systems in Pyongyang, showcasing an intercontinental ballistic missile, among other weapons.
Kim Jong Un reviewed the rare exhibition and vowed to build an “invincible” military, as he accused the United States of creating regional tensions and lacking action to prove it has no hostile intent toward the North, state media reported.
In an apparent continued effort to drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul, Kim also used his speech to stress that his military might isn’t targeted at South Korea and that there shouldn’t be another war pitting Korean people against each other.
“The U.S. has frequently signaled it’s not hostile to our state, but there is no action-based evidence to make us believe that they are not hostile,” Kim said Monday, according to the official Korean Central News Agency. “The U.S. is continuing to create tensions in the region with its wrong judgments and actions.”
He called the United States a “source” of instability on the Korean Peninsula, and further said that his country’s most important objective is possessing an “invincible military capability” that no one can dare challenge.
The exhibition featured an array of newly developed weapons, including intercontinental ballistic missiles North Korea has already test-launched or displayed during military parades in recent years, experts say.
Other weapons on display were another ICBM that North Korea tested in 2017; ballistic missiles that can be fired from submarines or a train; solid-fueled, short-range missiles; and a developmental hypersonic missile that had its first test-flight in September.
In recent weeks North Korea has sent mixed signals toward its rivals, as it resumed its missile tests after a six-month hiatus but offered conditional talks with South Korea.
During his exhibition speech, Kim accused South Korea of hypocrisy because it criticizes North Korea’s weapons development as provocations while spending heavily to increase its own military capabilities. But he still said his military doesn’t target South Korea.
“I say once again that South Korea isn’t the one that our military forces have to fight against,” Kim said. “Surely, we aren’t strengthening our defense capability because of South Korea. We shouldn’t repeat a horrible history of compatriots using force against each other.”
The United States has recently repeatedly offered talks with North Korea “anywhere and at any time” without preconditions. Kim has called such an offer “cunning” attempt to conceal U.S. hostility against North Korea, as he wants Washington to ease the sanctions or suspend its regular military drills with Seoul first before the talks can resume.
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