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(LEAD) N. Korean leader vows during military parade to strengthen nuclear power

All News 11:50 April 26, 2022

By Yi Wonju and Chae Yun-hwan

SEOUL, April 26 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un declared a resolve to further strengthen his regime's nuclear capabilities during a military parade held earlier this week in central Pyongyang, according to state media Tuesday.

During his speech, Kim vowed to boost the country's nuclear capabilities at "the fastest rate" at the parade celebrating the 90th founding anniversary of the Korean People's Revolutionary Army (KPRA), according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The KPRA is the anti-Japanese guerilla force known to have been created by national founder Kim Il-sung in 1932.

Kim added that the North will make thorough preparations for using nuclear "deterrence" anytime.

"Our basic mission regarding nuclear power is to deter war but our nuclear weapons cannot be confined solely within the boundaries of preventing a war until a situation is created that we never hope to witness in this land," Kim was quoted as saying.

He also warned that any forces seeking military confrontation will cease to exist, saying that the North is "thoroughly prepared" to carry out its mission of nuclear deterrence anytime.

Monday's parade was initially expected to begin early on Monday, but it did not proceed amid a forecast of rainfall.

Earlier, an informed source said the North kicked off the parade at Kim Il Sung Square at around 10 p.m. Monday.

It marks the North's first military parade to celebrate the KPRA anniversary and 12th major military parade under the leadership of Kim, who took power about a decade ago.

The North has typically held such parades on the birth anniversary of national founder Kim Il-sung on April 15, the founding anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party on Oct. 10 or the nation's foundation on Sept. 9.

The parade also came amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula and concerns the North could conduct a nuclear test after it successfully test-fired a massive ICBM last month, marking its first test-launch since 2017.

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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