North Korea's Kim orders 'exponential' increase of nuclear arsenal, as tensions soar

01 January 2023, 01:34 pm | Updated: 30 September 2023, 11:52 am

North Korea's Kim orders 'exponential' increase of nuclear arsenal, as tensions soar
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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for an "exponential" increase in the country's nuclear arsenal, including mass producing tactical nuclear weapons and developing new missiles for nuclear counterstrikes, state media said Sunday, reports AFP.

In a report at the end of a key party meeting in Pyongyang, Kim said the country must "overwhelmingly beef up the military muscle" in 2023 in response to what it called US and South Korean hostility, the official KCNA agency reported.

Claiming that Washington and Seoul were set on "isolating and stifling" the North, Kim said his country would focus on the "mass-producing of tactical nuclear weapons" and develop "another ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) system whose main mission is quick nuclear counterstrike."

Such goals form the "main orientation" of the 2023 nuclear and defense strategy, the report said.

Military tensions on the Korean peninsula rose sharply in 2022 as the North conducted sanctions-busting weapons tests nearly every month, including firing its most advanced ICBM ever.

It capped the record-breaking year of launches by firing three short-range ballistic missiles early Saturday, and conducting another rare late-night launch at 2:50 a.m. (local time) on Sunday, Seoul's military said.

KCNA reported Sunday that the launches had been "a test-fire of the super-large multiple rocket launchers."

In a separate KCNA report, Kim said the weapons put South Korea "as a whole within the range of strike and [are] capable of carrying [a] tactical nuclear warhead."

Category : International