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North Korea's leader says nuclear deterrence will ‘guarantee' national security

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has said that Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme will “guarantee” the country’s security and future, despite what he referred to as continuing outside pressure and military threats.

In a 27 July speech carried by Pyongyang’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper the same day to mark the 67th anniversary of the end of the 1950–53 Korean War, Kim said Pyongyang had developed nuclear weapons to have the power to “prevent and contain war so that the pain and suffering of the war of the 1950s will never be repeated”.

“Now we are capable of defending ourselves in the face of any form of high-intensity pressure and military threats from imperialist and hostile forces,” he said. “Thanks to our reliable and effective self-defence war deterrence, there will no longer be war on this land and our national security and future will be firmly guaranteed permanently.”

Kim also stated that nobody could underestimate North Korea, warning that if another country did so, it would pay a high price.

Kim’s remarks follow the US Congressional Research Service (CRS) publishing a report on 14 July stating that North Korea’s most recent ballistic missile tests suggest that Pyongyang is striving to build a credible nuclear warfighting capability designed to evade ballistic missile defence (BMD) systems in the region.

The report, by Mary Beth Nikitin – a specialist in non-proliferation – and research assistant Samuel Ryder, said the tests conducted over the past years have demonstrated “growing success and, coupled with increased operational training exercises, suggest a pattern designed to strengthen the credibility of North Korea’s regional nuclear deterrent strategy”.

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