North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said being a nuclear state ensured his country’s survival, showing no intention of bowing to President Donald Trump’s demand that he disarm completely.
Kim told a meeting of veterans marking the anniversary of the end of the Korean War fighting that his country’s “trustworthy and effective” nuclear deterrence would ensure its permanent national safety and future, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Tuesday.
“We have walked down the path of self-development as a nuclear state, and have become a state that can defend ourselves against any form of external pressure or military threat,” Kim said. North Korea has long said that it sees its nuclear arsenal as the best way of protecting itself from a U.S. invasion.
“We will not stop for a moment in the process of forming the best national security power that no one can challenge,” Kim said.
While Trump has left the door open for another summit with Kim, North Korea has said it sees no point in engaging with Washington, accusing it of breaking promises made at the first historic summit two years ago and turning dreams for peace into “a dark nightmare.”
Kim and Trump have met three times since 2018 but have little to show for their unprecedented discussions. Trump has called for the “complete, verifiable and irreversible” of North Korea’s atomic arsenal before it can receive relief from sanctions choking its paltry economy. Pyongyang’s leaders see giving up the weapons as political suicide, and Kim has been busy adding to his stockpile of nuclear warheads and missiles as the talks with Trump have sputtered.
The Kim regime also has an incentive to keep tensions from getting out of control and prompting more international sanctions. Kim’s decision to shut borders in January due to the coronavirus slammed the brakes on the little legal trade the state has, and could send the economy into its biggest contraction in more than two decades, according to Fitch Solutions.
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