North Korea on Monday showed off its growing arsenal of missiles in one of its largest-ever exhibitions of military gear, as its leader, Kim Jong Un, said he didn’t believe repeated assertions by the United States that it harbored no hostile intent toward his country.
The display of might occurred a day after the North marked the 76th anniversary of its ruling Workers Party. It had often celebrated such anniversaries with large military parades. But this year, it instead staged an indoor exhibition of its missile forces Monday, and on Tuesday, the North’s Korean Central News Agency carried the text of Kim’s speech at the event.
Kim vowed to further build up his country’s military might.
“The US has frequently signaled it’s not hostile to our state, but there is no action-based evidence to make us believe that they are not hostile,” he said.
He called the United States “hypocritical” for helping South Korea boost its missile and other military forces in the name of “deterring” North Korea — just as it was condemning the North’s own development and tests of missiles as “provocations.” He said his missiles were for self-defense and peace, not for war, adding that he had no intention of giving them up.
“Our enemy is war itself, not a certain country or forces like South Korea and the US,” Kim said. “But our external efforts for peace does not in any way mean giving up our rights to self-defense.”