SEOUL – 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 reported Tuesday.
Kim’s comments before war veterans marking the 67th anniversary of the end of the 1950-53 Korean War again show he has no intention of abandoning his weapons as prospects dim for resuming diplomacy with the United States.
North Korea has previously ratcheted up fiery rhetoric or conducted weapons tests to wrest outside concessions. But some experts say Pyongyang will likely avoid serious talks with Washington before the U.S. presidential elections in November as there is a chance for a U.S. leadership change.
Kim said in his speech 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,” Kim 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,” Kim said.
Kim’s speech followed recent remarks by both North Korean and U.S. officials suggesting they were reluctant to engage in a new round of diplomacy on the North’s nuclear program anytime soon.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said President Donald Trump would only want to engage with Kim if there were real prospects of progress. Kim’s sister and senior ruling party official, Kim Yo Jong, said a new summit would be “unpractical” for North Korea and that Pyongyang won’t gift Trump a high-level meeting that he can boast as a foreign policy achievement.