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North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un threatened to increase his nuclear arsenal at “maximum speed” and said he would use his nuclear forces if his country was 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 maximum speed,” Kim told his troops, and the crowd gathered for the parade in Pyongyang Square, 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.
A prominent weapon at the parade was the hermit nation’s largest and newest intercontinental ballistic missile, the Hwasong-17. The weapon is named after Kim’s late grandfather and the founder of the North Korean regime.
North Korea claimed it test-fired the Hwasong-17 missile last month, but South Korea said a smaller, existing missile was actually fired. Despite that, the missile fired on March 24 flew longer and higher than any other missile North Korea has fired.
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So far this year, North Korea has conducted 13 weapons tests. There are also signs that the country is rebuilding parts of a nuclear test facility that has not been active since 2017.
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Nuclear negotiations between the US and North Korea have been on hold since 2019 due to disagreements over easing US sanctions against the country.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.