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North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un he threatened to raise his nuclear arsenal at “top speed” and said he would use his nuclear forces if his country were provoked in a speech at a military parade Monday night.
“We will continue to implement measures aimed at strengthening and developing our country’s nuclear forces at maximum speed,” Kim told his troops and crowds gathered for the parade in a Pyongyang square, according to the official Korean central news agency.
The parade marked the 90th anniversary of the North Korean army. Kim paraded several weapons, including missiles potentially capable of reaching the United States, as well as short-range missiles that can be launched from ground or submarine vehicles and threaten South Korea and Japan.
A featured weapon at the parade was the hermit nation’s largest and newest ICBM, the Hwasong-17. The weapon is named after Kim’s late grandfather and founder of the North Korean regime.
North Korea said it tested the Hwasong-17 missile last month, but South Korea said an existing smaller missile was actually launched. Despite this, the missile launched on March 24 flew longer and higher than any other missile launched by North Korea.
So far this year, North Korea has conducted 13 weapons tests. There are also signs the country is rebuilding parts of a nuclear test facility that has been inactive since 2017.
Nuclear negotiations between the US and North Korea have been pending since 2019 due to disagreements over easing US sanctions against the country.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.