Calling the United States a “source” of instability in the Korean peninsula, Kim said his country’s primary goal is to have an “invincible military ability” that no one can challenge.
The exhibit, which, according to the KCNA, featured the 76th North Korean Photos, Kim, dressed in a dark suit, walked a red carpet lined with large truck-mounted missiles, passed a multi-missile launch system, and watched jets take off flew in formation.
The exhibit featured a number of newly developed weapons, including ICBMs, which North Korea has tested in recent years or shown during military parades, experts say.
Yang Wook, a military expert who teaches at Hannam University in South Korea, said the weapons in the photos include a new ICBM that North Korea revealed but has not yet fired during a military parade last year, Yang said. This missile, which was mounted on an 11-axis launcher during the parade, is considered to be the largest ICBM to date in the north.
Other weapons on display were another ICBM that North Korea tested in 2017; ballistic missiles that can be launched from submarines or a train; Solid fuel short-range missiles; and a development hypersonic missile that made its first test flight last month, said Lee Choon Geun, a missile expert at the South Korean Science and Technology Policy Institute.
“Basically, North Korea wants to send this message: ‘We will continue to develop new weapons and arm ourselves with nuclear weapons, so do not impose sanctions on them as we cannot agree on the double standards,'” Yang said.
The Seoul Department of Defense said South Korean and US intelligence agencies analyzed the North Korean weapons on display but did not elaborate on them.
In the past few weeks, North Korea has sent mixed signals to its rivals as it resumed its missile testing after a six-month hiatus but offered conditional talks with South Korea.
During his exhibition speech, Kim accused South Korea of hypocrisy because it criticized North Korea’s weapons development as a provocation and at the same time spends a lot of money to increase its own military capabilities. But he still said his military was not targeting South Korea.
“I’ll say again that South Korea is not what our armed forces are fighting,” said Kim. “We are certainly not strengthening our defense capability because of South Korea. We should not repeat a terrible story of compatriots using violence against one another. “
Some experts say North Korea is trying to use South Korea’s desire to improve relations to put pressure on the United States to relax the punishment of economic sanctions against the North and make other concessions.
North Korea has long sought improved relations with the United States because it wanted sanctions relief and a better security environment to focus on revitalizing its dying economy. High-stakes diplomacy between countries broke up in early 2019 after the Americans rejected North Korea’s demands for far-reaching sanctions easing in return for partial disarmament steps.
The USA recently offered repeated talks with North Korea “anywhere and at any time” without any preconditions. Kim has called such an offer a “cunning” attempt to hide US hostility towards North Korea, as he wants Washington to relax sanctions or suspend regular military exercises with Seoul before talks can resume.
Despite his recent missile testing, Kim still maintains a self-imposed 2018 moratorium on long-range missile tests aimed directly at the American homeland, a sign that he wants to keep the chances of future talks with Washington alive.
In 2017, North Korea conducted three ICBM tests and claimed to have acquired the ability to attack the U.S. mainland with nuclear missiles. Lee, the expert, questioned the North’s claim, saying that it will have to conduct several more flight tests to prove that it can overcome the last remaining technological hurdles, such as protecting a warhead from extreme heat and pressure after re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere has overcome.