Kim Jong Un says North Korea aims to have the world’s strongest nuclear force

SEOUL, Nov 27 (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country intends to have the world’s most powerful nuclear force as he promoted dozens of military officers involved in the recent launch of a new ballistic missile, state media reported on Sunday.

The announcement comes after Kim inspected a November 18 test of the Hwasong-17, North Korea’s largest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), and vowed to counter what he called US nuclear threats.

“North Korea’s ultimate goal is to possess the most powerful strategic force in the world, absolute power unprecedented in the century,” Kim said in the order promoting the officers, adding that building the country’s nuclear capability would reliably protect the dignity and sovereignty of the state and the people.

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He described the Hwasong-17 as “the world’s most powerful strategic weapon” and said it demonstrated North Korea’s determination and ability to eventually build the world’s strongest military.

North Korean scientists have made “a great leap forward in the development of technology for mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic missiles” and are expected to expand and strengthen the country’s nuclear deterrence capabilities at an extremely rapid pace, Kim added.

Kim was pictured in photos posing with scientists, engineers and military personnel involved in the test.

According to state media, these workers pledged to defend the “absolute authority” of the party and Kim, and vowed that “our missiles will fly vigorously only in the direction indicated” by Kim.

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Capable of reaching the US mainland, the launch of the Hwasong-17 prompted the United States to request a statement from the president of the UN Security Council to hold North Korea accountable for its missile tests, which are banned by Security Council resolutions .

State media also showed Kim Jong Un’s daughter accompanying him as he inspected the officials. Her unexpected first appearance on the Hwasong-17 test raised the prospect that the leadership of the totalitarian state could pass to a fourth-generation Kim.

The influential Standing Committee of North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly awarded the Hwasong-17 missile with the title of “DPRK Hero and Medal Gold Star and Order of the National Flag 1st degree,” state news agency KCNA said in another statement, using the initials of the country’s official name , Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

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“(The missile) clearly proved to the world that the DPRK is a full-fledged nuclear power capable of countering the nuclear superiority of the US imperialists and fully demonstrated its might as the most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile country,” KCNA said.

Reporting by Josh Smith; Editing by Leslie Adler and Edwina Gibbs

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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