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North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un threatened to boost his nuclear arsenal at “maximum speed” and said he would use his nuclear forces if his country is provoked in a speech during a military parade Monday night.
“We will continue to implement measures aimed at strengthening and developing our country’s nuclear forces at the maximum speed,” Kim told his troops and the crowd gathered for the parade at a Pyongyang plaza, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.
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The parade marked the 90th anniversary of North Korea’s army. Kim paraded several weapons, including missiles potentially capable of reaching the United States, as well as shorter-range missiles that can be fired from land vehicles or submarines and threaten South Korea and Japan.
One weapon prominently featured at the parade was the hermit nation’s biggest and newest intercontinental ballistic missile, the Hwasong-17. The weapon is named after Kim’s late grandfather and the North Korean regime’s founder.
North Korea claimed it test-fired the Hwasong-17 missile last month, but South Korea said a smaller, existing missile was actually launched. Despite that, the missile fired on March 24 flew longer and higher than any other missile North Korea has launched.
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So far this year, North Korea has conducted 13 weapons tests. There are also signs the country is rebuilding parts of a nuclear testing facility that hasn’t been active since 2017.
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Nuclear negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea have been on ice since 2019 over disagreements about easing U.S. sanctions on the country.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.