The White House said in a statement that its National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan stressed the need for North Korea to refrain from “escalatory actions” and also reiterated US support for inter-Korean dialogue and cooperation. This came during a meeting with his South Korean counterpart Suh Hoon in Washington.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has said the development of weapons is necessary to counter hostile US policies and South Korea’s military buildup, state media reported on Tuesday.
A report by the Korean Central News Agency quoted Kim as saying in a speech at the defense development exhibition that Pyongyang is increasing its military strength in self-defense, not to wage war.
Pictures published by the ruling party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, show that Kim Jong Un made these statements while standing near a variety of weapons, including ICBMs similar to the Hwasong-16 missile, the largest ICBM in North Korea. It was unveiled at a military parade in October-October 2020 but has not yet been tested.
By the way, the North Korean leader said, “We do not discuss war with anyone, but rather we discuss preventing war itself, and literally strengthening deterrence in order to protect national sovereignty.”
A South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman told a news briefing that South Korean and US intelligence services are already analyzing the weapons shown at the exhibition and will continue to closely monitor the situation.
The two Koreas are in an accelerating arms race, as they test advanced short-range ballistic missiles and other weapons.
South Korea recently tested its first submarine-launched ballistic missile, plans to manufacture major new weapons, including aircraft carriers, and has also purchased US F-35 stealth fighters.
North Korea is pressing ahead with its missile program, and analysts say it has begun a major expansion of its main nuclear reactor, used to produce fuel for nuclear bombs.