Kim vows to build ‘invincible’ military while slamming US

  • In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, poses for a group photo with fighter pilots who made the demonstration flight at the opening of an exhibition of weapons systems in Pyongyang, North Korea, Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. Kim reviewed the rare exhibition and vowed to build an “invincible” military, as he accused the United States of creating regional tensions and lacking action to prove it has no hostile intent toward the North, state media reported Tuesday. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

  • In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, speaks in front of what the North says an intercontinental ballistic missile displayed at an exhibition of weapons systems in Pyongyang, North Korea, Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. Kim reviewed the rare exhibition and vowed to build an “invincible” military, as he accused the United States of creating regional tensions and lacking action to prove it has no hostile intent toward the North, state media reported Tuesday. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reviewed a rare exhibition of weapons systems and vowed to build an “invincible” military, as he accused the United States of creating tensions and not taking action to prove it has no hostile intent toward the North, state media reported Tuesday.

In an apparent continued effort to drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul, Kim also said his drive to build up his military isn’t targeted at South Korea and that there shouldn’t be another war pitting Korean people against each other.

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Kim gave the speech Monday at the “Defense Development Exhibition ‘Self-Defense-2021’,” an event meant to mark the previous day’s 76th birthday of the ruling Workers’ Party. The event featured an array of new weapons, including intercontinental ballistic missiles that North Korea has already test-launched or displayed during a military parade.

“The U.S. has frequently signaled it’s not hostile to our state, but there is no action-based evidence to make us believe that they are not hostile,” Kim said, according to the official Korean Central News Agency. “The U.S. is continuing to create tensions in the region with its wrong judgments and actions.”

Calling the United States a “source” of instability on the Korean Peninsula, Kim said his country’s most important objective is possessing an “invincible military capability” that no one can dare challenge.

Kim accused South Korea of hypocrisy because it criticizes North Korea’s weapons development as provocations while spending heavily to increase its own military capabilities, including purchasing advanced U.S. stealth fighters. But he still said his military doesn’t target South Korea.

“I say once again that South Korea isn’t the one that our military forces have to fight against,” Kim said. “Surely, we aren’t strengthening our defense capability because of South Korea. We shouldn’t repeat a horrible history of compatriots using force against each other.”

North Korean state media photos showed Kim, clad in a dark suit, walking on a red carpet lined with big missiles mounted on trucks, passing by a multiple rocket launch system and watching jets flying in a formation.

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Seoul’s Defense Ministry said South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities were analyzing the North Korean weapons displayed but didn’t elaborate. Seoul’s Unification Ministry said Monday’s exhibition was the first of its kind since Kim took power in 2011.

Yang Wook, a military expert who teaches at South Korea’s Hannam University, said the weapons shown in the photos were largely what the North has already displayed during military parades. Among them was what appears to be a new ICBM that North Korea disclosed during a military parade last year but hasn’t test-fired, Yang said. That missile mounted on an 11-axel launch vehicle during the parade is considered to be the North’s biggest-yet ICBM.