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Kim Jong-un calls for boosting military capabilities, claims move is not aimed at Seoul or Washington
Updated: 2021-10-12 17:01:52 KST
The North's leader Kim Jong-un has said boosting national defense is the regime's number one priority, reiterating his long pledge to strengthen weapons development.
According to the North's state media on Tuesday, Kim said this in a speech at a rare defense development exhibition to mark the 76th founding anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party.
There was no military parade to mark the annual event on Sunday.
Instead, Pyeongyang displayed the weapons it created for the past five years including its very own Hwasong-16 ICBM.

"By holding a defense exhibition like other countries, the North is telling the international community that its weapons development, including nuclear weapons is justifiable."

Yet, Kim also claimed that such a move is not intended to target a specific country like the South or the U.S., adding that the North's main enemy is (quote) "war itself".
But experts voice concerns that Pyeongyang's weapons development will go on regardless.

"The North is saying that it will continue to develop weapons until it has the upper hand and that it will boost defense capabilities even when negotiations with Washington are established."

By delivering the speech himself through such an exhibition, Kim may also be trying to justify the spending on weapons development to his people who are in desperate need of better living conditions.

"Kim is showing his people that his pursuit of defense development is going well and he is trying to strengthen internal solidarity in order to develop more advanced weapons."

Seoul's defense ministry said on Tuesday that South Korea and the U.S. are closely analyzing the weapons at the exhibition.
Watchers note that given his unique governing style like holding a midnight military parade, Kim Jong-un will continue to underscore weapons development through other shapes and forms in the future.
Kim Dami, Arirang News.
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