Kim of N. Korea vows to increase nuke capability during the parade

Kim Jong Un, North Korea's leader, vowed to speed up the development of nuclear weapons. He also threatened to use them if provoked.

Kim of N. Korea vows to increase nuke capability during the parade

Kim's comments suggest that he will continue to conduct provocative weapon tests as part of a pressure campaign designed at winning concessions from the United States, its allies and other countries. Monday's parade marked the 90th anniversary North Korea's army, which was the backbone under the authoritarian Kim family. It was held at a time when the country's economy has been suffering from pandemic-related problems and punishing U.S. sanctions as well as its own mismanagement.

Kim was seen on state television, wearing a white military ceremonial jacket, waving and smiling from a balcony, along with Ri Sol Ju and top deputies. This was in response to the roaring cheers of thousands of soldiers and spectators. The country's flag was created by drones and fireworks that lit up the night sky.

Kim said that "(We) will continue taking measures for further development of the nuclear forces state at the quickest possible speed," to the troops and crowd at a square in Pyongyang.

He stated that North Korea could use its nuclear weapons proactively if threatened by attack and called for his nuclear force to be ready to "go into motion at any moment."

Kim stated that "the fundamental mission of our nuclear force is to prevent war." However, our nukes cannot be limited to the mission of war-deterrent. Kim stated that if any forces attempt to undermine the fundamental interests of our nation, our nuclear forces would have to accomplish their unexpected second mission. This would render any invading force "perished."

Parade featured thousands of troops that could be seen stepping on the ground and some of North Korea's most powerful weapons. The U.S. could be well within range of some intercontinental missiles, while a number of short-range solid fuel missiles are a growing threat for South Korea and Japan.

North Korea described some of these short-range missiles "tactical battlefield systems", which experts believe suggests that they are being used to threaten the United States' conventional military forces. About 80,000 U.S. soldiers are stationed in South Korea and Japan.

The Hwasong-17, North Korea's newest and largest ICBM, was one of the weapons displayed at the Kim Il Sung Square.

North Korea claimed that it had successfully tested-fired the missile last month. South Korea however, concluded that the launch was from the smaller Hwasong-15 and that the Hwasong-17 launch had failed. Whatever weapon it was, North Korea's March 24 launch was its first full-range ICBM missile flight test in over four years. It flew longer than any missile North Korea had ever launched before and was more powerful than any previous one.

According to the official Korean Central News Agency, the Hwasong-17 was the highlight of the parade. It was said that it showed the "absolute power of Juche (self-reliance), Korea, and the strategic position of our Republic to the world."

The parade also featured a number of weapons, including a North Korean hypersonic missile that was first tested in 2021. A new type and design of ballistic missiles designed to be fired from subseas, something North Korea has pursued for many years.

North Korea is known for commemorating key state anniversaries with large crowds in order to increase internal unity. Tuesday's KCNA dispatch praised Kim, who made a long trip of patriotic devotion and a death-defying desire to free his people from war.

Kim is attempting to revive nuclear brinkmanship in an effort to force the United States to recognize North Korea as a nuclear-power and to remove crippling economic restrictions. He also exploited a favorable climate to advance its weapons program while the U.N. Security Council remains divided about Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Since 2019, nuclear negotiations between Washington, Pyongyang and Iran have been blocked by disagreements about a possible lifting of U.S. sanctions in return for North Korean disarmament. Kim has not given up on his goal of simultaneously developing nuclear weapons and the country’s dismal economic performance in the face international pressure. He has also shown no willingness or desire to give up a nuclear arsenal that he considers his greatest guarantee of survival.

According to Cheong Seong Chang at South Korea’s Sejong Institute, Kim's remarks about possible nuclear weapons use and his choice to wear a military jacket to the parade indicate a tough approach to South Korea's new conservative government. This may be a more aggressive approach to Pyongyang than the current liberal President Moon Jae In.

Kim's call for his people to be ready for "imperialists" shows that he doesn't have an immediate plan to engage in denuclearization negotiations with the United States. He is monitoring the geopolitical fallout from the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the rivalry between China and the U.S., Cheong stated.

Yoon Suk Yeol (the South Korean President-elect), who will take office May 10th, has accused Moon for seeking engagement with North Korea but ignoring the growing threat from North Korea. He pledged to increase South Korea's defenses as part of its alliance with America, which includes enhancing preemptive strike capability.

Yoon's office stated in a statement that North Korea's missiles and nuclear weapons have made them a real threat to our country. It is urgent to acquire the ability to deter this threat.

This year, North Korea conducted 13 rounds weapons testing. There are signs that North Korea is building tunnels at its nuclear testing ground, which was last active in 2017, possibly to prepare for the explosion of a nuclear device.

After a string of missile and nuclear tests, North Korea claimed that it had been able to launch nuclear strikes against the U.S. mainland in 2017. After such high-profile testing, it stopped them before entering now-dormant diplomatic relations with the United States.

Kim's aggressive military push may also be driven by domestic politics, as he doesn’t have any other significant achievements to show his people in this decade of power. After his failed talks with Donald Trump to secure the necessary sanctions relief, the COVID-19 Pandemic caused further economic shocks and forced Kim to admit last year that North Korea was in its " most severe-ever situation."