North Korea intends to build the most powerful nuclear force in the world, dictator Kim Jong Un stated Sunday.
Kim announced the goal as he promoted officers involved in a ballistic missile launch he had observed earlier in November, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency. His push flies in the face of decades of ill-fated U.S. efforts to curb the country’s nuclear program.
“[Our] ultimate goal is to possess the world’s most powerful strategic force, the absolute force unprecedented in the century,” Kim stated, before claiming that the country’s scientists have made a “wonderful leap forward in the development of the technology of mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic missiles.”
Kim’s threat comes as the country has launched dozens of nuclear-capable missiles into the sea east of the Korean Peninsula. The U.S. and South Korea have also escalated military drills in a show of force against the regime.
The U.S. and South Korea warned in early November that Kim’s regime would “end” if it ever resorted to using nuclear weapons.
The warning came hours after North Korea fired an unprecedented 23 missiles in a single day in its own show of force.
“Any nuclear attack against the United States or its allies and partners, including the use of non-strategic nuclear weapons, is unacceptable and will result in the end of the Kim regime,” South Korean Defense Minister Jong-Sup Lee said at the time in a joint news conference with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
North Korea has grown increasingly aggressive since the U.S. and South Korea began joint military exercises in September. The country also flew 12 warplanes near the South Korean border in early October. The sortie included eight fighter jets and four bombers. South Korea responded with a flight of 30 warplanes, but the two groups did not engage.
The U.S. and South Korea’s joint air force exercise, Operation Vigilant Storm, was scheduled to end November 4, but it was extended several days in response to North Korea’s launches. The exercise saw allied fighter jets and bombers conduct simulated attacks across South Korea for 24 hours a day.
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