January 02, 2023 12:00
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Sunday pledged to boost the renegade country's nuclear weapons "exponentially" as he fired another volley of missiles into the sea.
North Korea launched three short-range ballistic missiles on Saturday that fell into the East Sea and another one on Sunday morning. Here, President Yoon Suk-yeol held a video conference with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and ordered soldiers to retaliate "with a firm determination not to avoid going to war."
The Defense Ministry warned the North Korean regime will "face an end" if it attempts to use nuclear weapons.
According to the North's official Korean News Agency, Kim told a plenary session of the ruling Workers Party that South Korea has become an "undoubted enemy" that is "hell-bent on imprudent and dangerous arms build-up."
He added this highlights the need to mass-produce tactical nuclear weapons and push for "an exponential increase of the country's nuclear arsenal."
"We have declared our resolute will to respond with nuke for nuke and an all-out confrontation for an all-out confrontation," it quoted him as saying.
Kim was presiding over a bizarre ceremony where the plenary session took delivery of what he called "super-large multiple rocket launchers capable of carrying nuclear weapons." The 600-mm rounds appear capable of hitting targets 400 km away, so they can hit any target in South Korea.
"Our nuclear force considers it as the first mission to deter war and safeguard peace and stability and, however, if it fails to deter, it will carry out the second mission, which will not be for defense," Kim said.
He said the North was also presented with the "task of developing another [intercontinental ballistic missile] system," presumably referring to attempts to build a solid-fuel engine for them that makes launches much faster and harder to detect.
North Korea's existing Hwasong-15 and Hwasong-17 ICBMs use liquid fuel which takes time to prepare for launch.
Kim also claimed his country is in the "final stage" of developing a spy satellite, which would be necessary to mount precision attacks against the South.
Meanwhile, Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun daily said South Korea and Japan are considering sharing radar information that detects and tracks North Korean missiles through the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
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