Kim calls for 'exponential increase' of North Korea's nuclear arsenal | North Korea

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Kim calls for “exponential increase” of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal | North Korea

North Korea launched three new ballistic missiles on Saturday after a year 2022 marked by a record number of such launches and a dramatic rise in tensions with Seoul and Washington.

Leader Kim Jong-un has called for an “exponential increase in North Korea's nuclear arsenal” to deal with its southern neighbor and the United States, signaling the continuation in 2023 of dangerous tensions in the Korean peninsula that had already characterized 2022.

At the end of a large meeting in Pyongyang, the ruling Workers' Party also announced that the country would develop a new system of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) whose main mission will be a rapid nuclear counterattack, the official KCNA news agency reported on Sunday.

The current situation calls for redoubled efforts to massively build up military force to fully guarantee [North Korea's] sovereignty, security and core interests in response to the disturbing military maneuvers by the United States and the x27;other hostile forces, Kim Jong-un said in a report of the Party meeting quoted by the agency.

The US nuclear-powered ship USS Ronald Reagan and attached vessels docked in the port city of Busan on South Korea's southern coast on Friday September 23.

“This underscores the importance and necessity of mass production of tactical nuclear weapons and calls for an exponential increase in the country's nuclear arsenal. ”

— Kim Jung-un, North Korean leader

In another dispatch, KNCA reported comments by Kim Jong Un that South Korea was now fully within range of North Korean nuclear strikes.

Tension has risen dramatically in recent months between North Korea and its southern neighbor as well as the United States and Japan. The year 2022 was marked by a record number of missile launches by Pyongyang.

Three short-range ballistic missiles were again fired by North Korea on Saturday, and another Sunday at dawn. KCNA referred to a firing exercise of very large multiple rocket launchers.

And on December 26, five North Korean drones entered southern airspace, even flying over the northern capital Seoul. Despite deploying fighter jets and helicopters for five hours, the Southern Army was unable to shoot down the drones in this incursion, the first of its kind in five years.

For Lim Eul-chul, a professor at Kyungman University, the new statements by Kim Jong Un indicate that North Korea is preparing for the possibility of a real war after the current collapse of inter-Korean relations.

If, as is likely, South Korea and its U.S. ally respond with increased joint military maneuvers, tensions between the two Koreas will reach an all-time high in 2023, he warns.

“It is reasonable to predict that the Korean Peninsula could become a second Ukraine if the situation is mishandled.

— Lim Eul-chul, professor at Kyungman University

This is not the first time that North Korea has announced the mass production of atomic bombs, said Go Myong-hyun, a researcher at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

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North Korea launched new short-range missile launches on Saturday, after a record series of launches for a week, in the context of joint air exercises between the United States and South Korea.

< p class="e-p">The intention is that if North Korea mass-produces nuclear weapons, even without engaging in aggressive provocations, the United States will have no other choice than to one day recognize North Korea as a nuclear state, this analyst told AFP.

Kim Jong Un's New Year's message is something like: let's play with nuclear weapons, he continued. According to him, the North Korean leader is trying to show that North Korea will not beg for dialogue and will put pressure on South Korea and the United States, especially the United States, by strengthening its power. nuclear.

Kim Jong Un had already said at the end of November that he wanted to endow his country with the most powerful strategic force in the world.

Two months earlier, North Korea had adopted a new doctrine making its status as a nuclear power irreversible, and authorizing it to carry out a preemptive atomic strike in the event of an existential threat against its regime.

Seoul and Washington lend Pyongyang the intention of carrying out a new nuclear test soon, which would be the seventh in its history and the first since 2017.

“This exercise was prepared to demonstrate the strong will of the South Korea/United States alliance to respond to North Korean provocations,” the South Korean navy said after joint exercises.

North Korean leaders say a credible nuclear deterrent is essential to the survival of their country, which says it is under constant threat of aggression from the United States .

Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, says Pyongyang's recent hostile gestures may be intended to scare Korea of the South to adopt a more moderate policy. But according to him, they risk producing the opposite effect and pushing Seoul to reinforce its military means.

regional instability caused by an inter-Korean arms race, it will have to do more to contain Pyongyang in 2023, Easley believes.

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