North Korea also wants to be able to attack

NNorth Korea’s ruler Kim Jong Un wants to accelerate the expansion of the country’s nuclear forces and not limit their purpose to deterrence. Speaking at an all-night military parade late Monday evening (local time) in Pyongyang, Kim described the isolated country’s nuclear forces as “a symbol of our national strength and the core of our military might.” They would have to be strengthened in scope and quality and be ready for action at any time, Kim was quoted as saying by the state media on Tuesday. North Korea will therefore take measures to further develop them with “the greatest possible speed”.

The fundamental role of domestic nuclear weapons is war deterrence, but they cannot be limited to that, Kim said. “Should any forces attempt to harm the fundamental interests of our state, our nuclear forces must resolutely carry out their unexpected second task.” Kim didn’t get any more specific. However, according to observers, Kim indicated a possible expansion of the nuclear deployment doctrine.

A recently published American data sheet could also have served as a model for North Korea’s “nuclear rhetoric”, wrote the North Korea expert Joshua Pollack from the Middlebury Institute for International Studies in Monterey, California on Twitter. This isn’t the first time. Pollack pointed to the report on the review of nuclear weapons policy from March this year, which speaks of the “vital interests of the USA or its allies and partners” which, under extreme circumstances, would have to be defended with the use of nuclear weapons.

North Korea’s new military parade came at a time of greater uncertainty in the region. North Korea has tested missiles, including an ICBM, that can carry a nuclear warhead several times this year. UN resolutions ban North Korea from testing nuclear-capable missiles of any range. Experts suspect that Pyongyang also wants to increase the pressure on the United States with the tests. Its negotiations with North Korea over its nuclear program have been at a standstill for more than three years.

Tactical and strategic weapons including North Korea’s largest ICBM, the Hwasongpho-17, were also reportedly on display at the troop review. North Korea claims to have tested this missile on March 24th. The information was questioned by the South Korean military, which assumed a test missile of the older type Hwasong-15. North Korea last tested the Hwasong-15 in November 2017.

The reason for the parade in Pyongyang was the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Korean Revolutionary People’s Army (KPRA). North Korea uses it to name guerrilla units that once fought against the Japanese colonial power. In addition to the founding day of the KPRA on April 25, the country also declared February 8 the day of the founding of its current People’s Army. The country’s leadership often uses public holidays to demonstrate military strength.

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