North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country intends to have the world’s most powerful nuclear force as he promoted dozens of military officers involved in the recent launch of a new ballistic missile, state media reported on Sunday.
The announcement comes after Kim inspected a Nov. 18 test of the Hwasong-17, North Korea’s largest intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, and pledged to counter what he called U.S. nuclear threats.
North Korea’s “ultimate goal is to possess the world’s most powerful strategic force, the absolute force unprecedented in the century,” Kim said in the order promoting the officers, adding that building up the country’s nuclear capabilities would reliably protect the dignity and sovereignty of the state and the people.
He described the Hwasong-17 as the “world’s strongest strategic weapon” and said it demonstrated North Korea’s resolve and ability to eventually build the world’s strongest army.
North Korean scientists have made a “wonderful leap forward in the development of the technology of mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic missiles,” and were expected to expand and strengthen the country’s nuclear deterrent capabilities at an extraordinarily rapid pace, Kim was also quoted as saying.
Kim was pictured in photos posing with scientists, engineers and military officials involved in the test.