Wednesday, 19 Jun 2024

Kim Jong-un ramps up nuclear weapons production to face US in 'new Cold War'

Kim Jong-un has called for an exponential increase in production of nuclear weapons to play a greater role in facing down the US in a ‘new Cold War’.

The North Korean leader made the remarks during a two-day session of the country’s rubber-stamp parliament which enshrined his demand for expansion into law.

The Supreme People’s Assembly unanimously adopted the revision that states North Korea ‘develops highly nuclear weapons to ensure’ its ‘rights to existence’ and to ‘deter war’.

State news agency KCNA also quoted Kim as saying: ‘The DPRK’s nuclear force-building policy has been made permanent as the basic law of the state, which no one is allowed to flout with anything.’

DPRK are the initials of the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Kim stressed ‘the need to push ahead with the work for exponentially boosting the production of nuclear weapons and diversifying the nuclear strike means and deploying them in different services’.

The session on Tuesday and Wednesday came after Kim travelled to Russia’s Far East this month to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and visit military and technology sites.

The trip sparked Western concerns about a possible arms alliance in which North Korea would supply Putin with badly needed munitions to fuel his war on Ukraine in exchange for economic aid and advanced Russian technologies to enhance North Korea’s nuclear and missile systems.

As North Korea slowly ends its pandemic lockdown, Kim has been actively boosting his partnerships with Moscow and Beijing as he attempts to break out of diplomatic isolation and join a united front against Washington.

He has described the world as entering a ‘new Cold War’ and that North Korea should advance its nuclear capabilities in response.

Kim pointed to what he described as a growing threat posed by a hostile United States and its expanding military cooperation with South Korea and Japan, accusing them of creating the ‘Asian version of NATO, the root cause of war and aggression’.

‘This is just the worst actual threat, not threatening rhetoric or an imaginary entity,’ he said.

Kim urged his diplomats to ‘further promote solidarity with the nations standing against the U.S. and the West’s strategy for hegemony’.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are at their highest level in years as North Korea has test-fired more than 100 missiles since the start of 2022 and the US has expanded its military exercises with its Asian allies, in tit-for-tat responses.

Last year, the assembly passed a new nuclear doctrine into law which authorises pre-emptive nuclear strikes if North Korea’s leadership is perceived as under threat.

South Korea’s unification ministry said the revised constitution showed Pyongyang’s ‘strong will’ not to abandon its nuclear programme.

‘We once again stress that North Korea will face an end of its regime if it uses nuclear weapons,’ it warned in a statement.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said: ‘North Korea’s nuclear and missile development poses threats to peace and safety of our country and the international community, and can never be tolerated.’

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