DPRK’s Kim orders ‘exponential’ increase of nuclear arsenal
The DPRK's leader accused Washington and Seoul of carrying out “a plot to isolate and stifle” Pyongyang.
DPRK leader Kim Jong Un has asked for "exponential" growth in the country's nuclear arsenal, including the mass production of tactical nuclear weapons and the development of new missiles for nuclear counter-strikes in order to curb the US threat to his country's sovereignty.
According to the official KCNA news agency, Kim stated in a report issued at the end of a key party conference in Pyongyang that the country must "overwhelmingly boost up the military muscle" in 2023 in response to what it dubbed “US and South Korean hostility”.
Kim accused Washington and Seoul of carrying out “a plot to isolate and stifle” Pyongyang, which is “unparalleled in human history”, the report added.
He said the circumstances required for Pyongyang to "double down our efforts to develop our military power overwhelmingly " and “to safeguard our sovereignty, safety, and basic national interest to cope with the dangerous military moves by the US and other hostile forces that target us”, KCNA reported.
“It highlights the importance and necessity of mass producing tactical nuclear weapons and calls for an exponential increase of the country’s nuclear arsenal,” Kim stressed.
The DPRK leader also ordered the development of a new type of ICBM “with a rapid nuclear counterattack capability as its basic mission," according to KCNA.
Kim stated in a second KCNA report that the weapons put South Korea "as a whole within strike range and (were) capable of carrying (a) tactical nuclear warhead."
It is worth noting that DPRK launched three short-range ballistic missiles toward the Sea of Japan on Saturday, Korea's Yonhap news agency reported, citing the South Korean military.
This year, the DPRK has conducted nearly 40 test launches, firing approximately 70 missiles, including an intercontinental ballistic missile test in November.
Pyongyang's latest test-firing on Saturday followed South Korea's test-firing of a solid-fuel carrier rocket on Friday as part of its efforts to strengthen space-based reconnaissance capabilities, according to South Korea's Defense Ministry.
Earlier this month, in light of South Korea's provoking military drills with the participation of Japan and the US in the Korean Peninsula on December 5, Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that DPRK fired about 130 artillery shells at 2:59 pm (0559 GMT) from two distinct sites, one on the DPRK's east coast and one on the west coast.