North Korea leader Kim Jong Un said his country’s hard-won nuclear weapons were a solid security guarantee and a “reliable, effective” deterrent that could prevent a second Korean War, state media has reported.
Mr Kim said in his speech on Monday his country has tried to become “a nuclear state” with “an absolute might” to prevent another war and that it has now built such a deterrent, according to the Korean Central News Agency.
“Now, we’ve changed to a country which can defend itself reliably and unwaveringly against high-intensity pressures and military threats and blackmailing by imperialistic reactionaries and hostile forces,” he said.
“There won’t be any war on this land again and our national security and future will be guaranteed firmly and permanently because of our reliable, effective self-defensive nuclear deterrent.”
His speech followed recent remarks by both North Korean and US officials suggesting they were reluctant to engage in a new round of diplomacy on the North’s nuclear program anytime soon.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said President Donald Trump would only want to engage with Mr Kim if there were real prospects of progress.
Mr Kim’s sister and senior ruling party official, Kim Yo Jong, said a new summit would be “unpractical” for North Korea and that Pyongyang will not gift Mr Trump a high-level meeting that he can boast as a foreign policy achievement.
Kim Jong Un and Mr Trump met three times since Mr Kim in 2018 abruptly reached out to Washington and Seoul for talks after expressing his intent to deal away his advancing nuclear arsenals.
Many experts were sceptical of Mr Kim’s disarmament commitment and said he only aimed to weaken US-led sanctions and perfect his nuclear program.
The nuclear diplomacy remains largely stalled since a second meeting in February 2019 in Vietnam collapsed without reaching any agreement because Mr Trump rejected Mr Kim’s proposal to get extensive sanctions relief in return for a limited denuclearisation step.
Mr Kim entered this year with a vow to bolster his nuclear program and threatened to unveil a new “strategic” weapon.
He also said he would no longer be bound by a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests.
Mr Kim has not performed such high-profile weapons tests, which some analysts say could completely derail diplomacy with the US.