US 'Root Cause' Of Tensions, Says North Korea's Kim Jong Un: Report
Pyongyang claims it needs its weapons to defend itself from a US invasion, and in 2017 it tested missiles capable of reaching the entire continental US and carried off by far its most powerful nuclear explosion to date.
North Korea's nuclear-armed leader, Kim Jong Un, has blamed tensions on the peninsula on the United States, according to state media.
According to the official Korean Central News Agency, he claimed in an opening statement at a defence show that the US is the "main cause" of instability. Pyongyang is subject to a slew of international sanctions for its outlawed nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, both of which have advanced rapidly under Kim.
Pyongyang claims it needs its weapons to defend itself from a US invasion, and in 2017 it tested missiles capable of reaching the entire continental US and carried off by far its most powerful nuclear explosion to date. The Biden administration has claimed numerous times that it has no hostile intentions toward North Korea, but Kim said at the "Self-Defense 2021" expo, "I am extremely curious if there are people or countries who believe that."
According to KCNA, he continued, "There is no justification in their behaviour for believing it is not hostile." Kim's speech comes after the North launched a long-range cruise missile and a hypersonic weapon in recent weeks. In 2018, Kim became the first North Korean leader ever to meet a sitting US president at the headline-grabbing Singapore summit.
But the talks process has been largely at a standstill since the second meeting in Hanoi the following year collapsed over sanctions relief and what Pyongyang would be willing to give up in return. The Biden administration has said it is willing to meet North Korean officials at any time or place, without preconditions, in its efforts to seek denuclearisation. Seoul and Washington are security partners, with Washington stationing roughly 28,500 troops in the South to defend it against its neighbour, which invaded it in 1950.
In August, the South and the US conducted joint military exercises. Pyongyang is constantly enraged by the wargames, which it dismisses as invasion rehearsals. The South has been beefing up its military capabilities, revealing a supersonic cruise missile and successfully testing its first submarine-launched ballistic missile in September.
Kim accused the South of hypocrisy, saying their "unrestricted and dangerous attempts to strengthen military power are destroying the military balance on the Korean peninsula and increasing military instability and danger".