North Koreans cheer missile launch in bizarre propaganda film
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The North Korea dictator made a speech on Wednesday to war veterans on the 69th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, in 1953. Reports say Kim’s comments were apparently meant to boost internal unity in the impoverished country suffering Covid-related economic difficulties.
According to the official Korean Central News Agency, Kim said: “Our armed forces are completely prepared to respond to any crisis, and our country’s nuclear war deterrent is also ready to mobilise its absolute power dutifully, exactly and swiftly in accordance with its mission.
The despot then accused the US of “demonising” North Korea to justify its hostile policies.
He also said US-South Korea military drills showed the US’s “double standards” and “gangster-like” aspects because it brands North Korea’s routine military activities as provocations or threats.
Kim also called new South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol “a confrontation maniac”, who had gone further than past South Korean leaders.
He also accused Mr Yoon’s Government of being led by “gangsters”.
Since taking office in May, the Yoon Government has moved to strengthen Seoul’s military alliance with the United States and bolster its capacity to neutralise North Korean nuclear threats including a pre-emptive strike capability.
Kim then said: “Talking about military action against our nation, which possess absolute weapons that they fear the most, is preposterous and is very dangerous suicidal action.
“Such a dangerous attempt will be immediately punished by our powerful strength and the Yoon Suk Yeol Government and his military will be annihilated.”
Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, told the Telegraph Kim’s speech was intended to justify more military spending despite North Korea’s struggling economy.
He added: “Kim’s rhetoric inflates external threats to justify his militarily focused and economically struggling regime.
“North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs are in violation of international law, but Kim tries to depict his destabilising arms buildup as a righteous effort at self-defence.”
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North Korea has carried out a record number of weapons tests in 2022.
In January, it said it had tested a hypersonic missile and later launched a banned intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) as well as missiles that it said could carry tactical nuclear weapons.
Its last confirmed nuclear weapon test was in September 2017.
It comes as North Korea’s economy shrank for a second straight year in 2021, according to estimates by South Korea’s central bank.
The North’s economy shrank an estimated 0.1 percent, the Bank of Korea (BOK) said on Wednesday, as UN sanctions and border closures and lockdowns hampered industrial activity and trade with China.
North Korea does not release official economic data, but the BOK has produced GDP estimates since the early 1990s using data collected from South Korean institutions that follow the country.
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