North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has assured that the country could use nuclear weapons “preventively” if threatened, North Korea’s official news agency KCNA reported today.
According to the statement, Kim expressed his “strong will” to continue developing nuclear forces in order to “proactively and completely curb and prevent all dangerous attempts and threats, including the growing nuclear threat from hostile forces.”
Kim spoke at a meeting where he praised North Korea’s senior military leaders for organizing a military parade in the capital, Pyongyang, on April 25 to mark the 90th anniversary of the country’s armed forces.
In a speech at the parade, Kim promised to increase the country’s nuclear power “at the fastest possible pace” “due to the turbulent political and military situation and various future crises.”
Experts at the U.S. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said Friday that “a new North Korean nuclear test, the first since 2017, is being prepared.”
Analysis of the photos taken by satellite this week showed that there is a lot of activity at North Korea’s Punggye nuclear test center in the northeast, CSIS said.
The North Korean government had dismantled entrances to several test tunnels in 2018 as a gesture to facilitate dialogue with the United States at the start of diplomatic talks.
Dialogue with Washington has been suspended following the failure of the 2019 summit in Hanoi by Kim Jong-un and former US President Donald Trump.
“While some sources suggest that the seventh nuclear test could take place in May-September this year, the date of the seventh nuclear test will no doubt depend solely on Kim Jong-un’s personal decision,” CSIS said.
Despite tough international sanctions, North Korea is stepping up its efforts to modernize the military and has tested weapons banned under international agreements earlier this year.