North Korea on Tuesday claimed that its series of missile tests since the beginning of 2022 represented “remarkable achievements” that strengthened the country’s “war deterrence”.
A statement from North Korea’s Foreign Ministry boasted that it is one of only a handful of countries in the world to field nuclear weapons and advanced missiles. It also claimed that it was the only country standing up to the United States by “shaking the world” with missile tests.
“In today’s world where many countries waste time dealing with the United States with submission and blind obedience, there’s only our country on this planet that can shake the world by firing a missile with the US mainland in its range,” a foreign ministry official said.
“There are more than 200 countries in the world, but only a few have hydrogen bombs, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and hypersonic missiles.”
On Monday, the United States had urged North Korea to defund its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
After the North Korean ministry’s statement, the US Department of State said America harboured no ill will towards Pyongyang, and asked North Korea to instead start a dialogue.
It added that North Korea was a threat to international peace and security and global non-proliferation efforts.
“The United States has a vital interest in deterring (North Korea), defending against its provocations or uses of force, limiting the reach of its most dangerous weapons programs, and above all keeping the American people, our deployed forces, and our allies safe,” a spokesperson said.
Jenny Town, the director of 38 North, a Washington-based North Korea program, noted that the fact the statement came from the foreign ministry made it less threatening. She said: “The formulation is very passive. Not that they will do it, but that they can.”
On Tuesday, North Korea celebrated the anniversary of the founding of its army. Usually, it used to be a holiday and has occasionally also featured massive military parades. This year, however, there were no parades. But the state media reported that senior military leaders visited the mausoleum of the country’s former rulers.