SEOUL • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has said there will be no more war as the country’s nuclear weapons guarantee its safety and future despite unabated outside pressure and military threats, state media said yesterday.
Mr Kim made the remarks as he celebrated the 67th anniversary of the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, which fell on July 27, with a reception for veterans, the official KCNA news agency said.
The country developed nuclear weapons to win “absolute strength” to stave off another armed conflict, he said in a speech carried by KCNA, emphasising the defensive nature of the programmes.
“Now we are capable of defending ourselves in the face of any form of high-intensity pressure and military threats from imperialist and hostile forces,” he said.
“Thanks to our reliable and effective self-defensive nuclear deterrent, there will no longer be war, and our country’s safety and future will be firmly guaranteed forever.”
The speech came amid stalled talks aimed at dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes in exchange for sanctions relief from Washington.
Mr Kim and United States President Donald Trump met for the first time in 2018 in Singapore, raising hopes for a negotiated end to North Korea’s nuclear threats.
But their second summit, in Vietnam last year, and subsequent working-level meetings fell apart.
Pyongyang insists it needs its nuclear arsenal to deter against a possible US invasion.
It has spent decades developing its arsenal and is internationally isolated as a result, subject to multiple United Nations Security Council sanctions over its banned nuclear weapons programmes.
Inter-Korean relations have been in deep freeze for months, following the collapse of the Hanoi summit between Mr Kim and Mr Trump.
That nuclear negotiation foundered on what the North would be willing to give up in exchange for a loosening of sanctions. Mr Kim declared in December last year an end to moratoriums on nuclear and ballistic missile tests, and Pyongyang has repeatedly said it has no intention to continue talks unless Washington drops what it describes as “hostile” policies towards the North.
EFFECTIVE NUCLEAR DETERRENT
Thanks to our reliable and effective self-defensive nuclear deterrent, there will no longer be war, and our country’s safety and future will be firmly guaranteed forever.
NORTH KOREAN LEADER KIM JONG UN
Mr Trump has called for a “complete, verifiable and irreversible” denuclearisation before North Korea can receive relief from sanctions choking its paltry economy.
Pyongyang’s leaders see giving up the weapons as political suicide, and Mr Kim has been busy adding to his stockpile of nuclear warheads and missiles.
The Kim regime also has an incentive to keep tensions from getting out of control and prompting more international sanctions.
Mr Kim’s decision to shut borders in January due to the coronavirus slammed the brakes on the little legal trade the state has, and could send the economy into its biggest contraction in more than two decades, according to Fitch Solutions.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG