Home » Kim Jong Un urges North Korean experts to produce ‘powerful nuclear weapons’ | Military News | Al Jazeera

Kim Jong Un urges North Korean experts to produce ‘powerful nuclear weapons’ | Military News | Al Jazeera

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called on the country’s scientists to expand production of “weapons-grade nuclear materials” and create more powerful weapons, state media reported.

Kim’s latest call, reiterating an earlier pledge to “exponentially increase” the production of nuclear weapons, came ahead of a U.S. Navy carrier strike group scheduled to arrive in South Korea on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, March 28, North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency reported that Kim Jong-un said in a briefing with officials of his nuclear weapons research institute that North Korea should be prepared to use nuclear weapons “anytime, anywhere”.

“We should never be satisfied with consolidating our nuclear force’s response posture, and should constantly strive to steadily strengthen our nuclear force,” KCNA quoted Kim as saying, according to Yonhap news agency.

Kim Jong-un called on his officials to “expand the production of weapons-grade nuclear materials in a far-sighted manner to fully implement the plan to exponentially increase the nuclear arsenal”. He also told his officials to “push for the continuation of the production of powerful nuclear weapons,” according to KCNA.

North Korea declared itself an “irreversible” nuclear power in 2022, and Kim Jong-un recently called for an “exponential” increase in weapons production, including tactical nuclear weapons.

Kim Jong-un was also briefed on an IT-based integrated nuclear weapons management system called “Haekbangashoe” (meaning “nuclear trigger”), according to the KCNA report on Tuesday.The news agency added that the system’s accuracy, reliability and safety were verified in a recent simulated nuclear counterattack exercise

Yonhap News Agency reported that North Korean media also released for the first time photos of Kim Jong-un inspecting the suspected tactical nuclear warhead “Hwasan-31”.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, inspects the nuclear weapons program in this photo taken on March 27, 2023 and released by the Korean Central News Agency on March 28, 2023 (AP)

Yonhap News Agency reported, “The photos show about 10 tactical nuclear warheads lined up in an apparent attempt to show that the country could install such warheads on super-large multiple rocket launchers or cruise missiles aimed at South Korea.”

The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz arrived at the port of Busan, South Korea, on Tuesday, 28, after conducting exercises with the South Korean navy in international waters.

Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride reports from Busan that the nuclear-powered USS Nimitz, one of the largest warships ever built, is taking part in extensive exercises with the South Korean military after years of hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, and has been allowed to North Korea dialogue.

“The exercise returned to size in the spring of 2023,” McBride said, adding that it involved U.S. nuclear bombers, some of the latest fighter jets, live-fire drills and an amphibious landing exercise by the Marine Corps.

“North Korea’s response, as you would expect, has been belligerent. It accuses the South Koreans and the US of being belligerent. They see these exercises as a prelude to war or a preparation for invasion,” he noted.

In another news report on Tuesday, North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency said North Korea conducted its first test of a new underwater weapon called “Haeil” (Korean for tsunami). It was carried out last week in what Pyongyang said was a response to the largest U.S.-South Korea military drill in the past five years.

KCNA said “Haeil” maneuvered underwater for “41 hours and 27 minutes, tracking a simulated route spanning 600 kilometers” before detonating on a target near the coast of North Hamgyong Province early on Monday morning.

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The same report also detailed what North Korea said was a drill simulating a tactical nuclear strike detonated above a target, Yonhap news agency reported.

Most Powerful Women in North Korea (Al Jazeera)

The Korean Central News Agency said the surface-to-surface tactical ballistic missiles were used in a “nuclear air blast” drill, simulating a nuclear warhead detonating in the air 500 meters above the intended target island, Yonhap news agency reported.

According to the Korean Central News Agency, Kim Jong-un said that North Korea’s policy of expanding its nuclear arsenal is entirely to safeguard national and regional peace and stability.

Pyongyang has slammed Seoul and Washington for holding regular joint military exercises, which it says have pushed the situation on the Korean peninsula to an “extreme red line”.

For decades, North Korea has referred to joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises as rehearsals for a potential invasion, even as the allies have characterized the exercises as defensive. North Korea ramped up its own weapons demonstrations in 2022 as they resumed massive training that had been scaled down over the years.

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