Seoul, Apr 26 (EFE).- North Korea’s leader has vowed to expand the country’s nuclear capabilities “at the fastest rate,” according to state media on Tuesday.
Kim Jong-un was speaking at a large military parade in Pyongyang on the 90th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean army on Monday night, according to state media outlet KCNA, as reported by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.
“We will continue to take steps to strengthen and develop our nation’s nuclear capabilities at the fastest rate,” Kim said.
During his address, he stressed that Pyongyang will make preparations to employ nuclear deterrence at any time and warned that any foreign forces seeking military confrontation will cease to exist, Yonhap said.
“Our basic mission regarding nuclear power is to deter war but our nuclear weapons cannot be confined solely within the boundaries of preventing a war until a situation is created that we never hope to witness in this land,” Kim added.
Some 20,000 troops are believed to have participated in the parade along with hundreds of weapons, including ballistic missiles, according to satellite images.
Analysts had expected the parade to take place around midnight on Sunday although it was apparently postponed due to rain in the capital.
An unnamed source close to the matter told Yonhap that the parade started around 10 pm on Monday.
The anniversary comes as North Korea, still cut off from the world due to the coronavirus pandemic, has conducted a record number of weapons tests this year, including the first launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in five years, under a weapons modernization program approved last year.
Satellite images during recent weeks have also indicated that Pyongyang may be preparing for its first nuclear test since 2017.
In neighboring South Korea, which has been responding to the North’s tests with its own launches, conservative president-elect Yoon Suk-yeol is set to take office in two weeks.
He has pledged to adopt a less tolerant attitude towards the neighboring country. EFE