Today's Paper Latest Coronavirus Cooking Families Core values Listen Story ideas iPad Weather Newsletters Obits Puzzles Archive
ADVERTISEMENT
story.lead_photo.caption A boy wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus watches fireworks exploded over Pyongyang, North Korea, Monday, July 27, 2020, marking the 67th anniversary of the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. (Kyodo News via AP)

SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korea leader Kim Jong Un said his country's hard-won nuclear weapons were a solid security guarantee and a "reliable, effective" deterrent that could prevent a second Korean War, state media outlets reported Tuesday.

Kim's comments before war veterans marking the 67th anniversary of the end of the 1950-53 Korean War again show he has no intention of abandoning his weapons as prospects dim for resuming diplomacy with the United States.

North Korea has previously ratcheted up fiery rhetoric or conducted weapons tests to wrest outside concessions. But some experts say Pyongyang likely will avoid serious talks with Washington before the presidential elections in November as there is a chance for a U.S. leadership change.

Kim said in his speech Monday that his country has tried to become "a nuclear state" with "an absolute might" to prevent another war and that it has now built such a deterrent, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

"Now, we've changed to a country which can defend itself reliably and unwaveringly against high-intensity pressures and military threats and blackmailing by imperialistic reactionaries and hostile forces," Kim said.

"There won't be any war on this land again and our national security and future will be guaranteed firmly and permanently because of our reliable, effective self-defensive nuclear deterrent," Kim said.

Kim's speech followed recent remarks by both North Korean and U.S. officials suggesting they were reluctant to engage in a new round of diplomacy on the North's nuclear program anytime soon.

North Korea's economic difficulties were believed to have worsened due to the coronavirus pandemic, which led North Korea to seal its border with China, its biggest trading partner and economic pipeline, in January.

Kim on Friday ordered the total lockdown of the city of Kaesong near the border with South Korea because a person there had suspected coronavirus symptoms. North Korea has so far said there has been no virus patient on its territory, a claim questioned by outside experts.

The Korean Central News Agency reported Tuesday that authorities were swiftly supplying masks, medicines, test equipment, food and other necessities to Kaesong. It said authorities have boosted their border closures.

Experts say a pandemic in North Korea could cause devastating consequences because of its broken health care system and lack of medical supplies.

Meanwhile, South Korea said Tuesday that it has won U.S. consent to use solid fuel for space launch vehicles, a move that is expected to enable Seoul to launch its first surveillance satellites and acquire technology to build more powerful missiles.

Solid fuel offers greater mobility for missiles and rockets, and reduces launch preparation time. But Washington had imposed strict restrictions on Seoul's use of solid propellant for space launch rockets out of concern that it could be used to produce bigger missiles and cause a regional arms race.

On Tuesday, the South Korean government said that Seoul and Washington have agreed to revise related bilateral missile guidelines to lift such restrictions.

Kim Hyun-chong, deputy presidential national security adviser in South Korea, said the revised agreement still bars South Korea from having a missile with a range of more than 500 miles. But he said Seoul can discuss altering that restriction with Washington if it's needed for South Korean national security. A missile fired from South Korea with a maximum range of 500 miles is still enough to strike all of North Korea.

South Korea's missile capability is inferior to that of rival North Korea.

In this Sunday, July 26, 2020, photo released by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, hands over a “Paektusan” commemorative pistol to a senior military official during a ceremony in Pyongyang, North Korea. At right is Kim's powerful sister Kim Yo Jong. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
In this Sunday, July 26, 2020, photo released by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, hands over a “Paektusan” commemorative pistol to a senior military official during a ceremony in Pyongyang, North Korea. At right is Kim's powerful sister Kim Yo Jong. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
In this Sunday, July 26, 2020, photo released by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, poses for a photo with senior military officials holding “Paektusan” commemorative pistols they received from Kim during a ceremony in Pyongyang, North Korea. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
In this Sunday, July 26, 2020, photo released by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, poses for a photo with senior military officials holding “Paektusan” commemorative pistols they received from Kim during a ceremony in Pyongyang, North Korea. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
People lay flowers  the statues of former North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il on the occasion of the 67th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, which the country celebrates as the day of "victory in the fatherland liberation war" in Pyongyang, Monday, July 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)
People lay flowers the statues of former North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il on the occasion of the 67th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, which the country celebrates as the day of "victory in the fatherland liberation war" in Pyongyang, Monday, July 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)
In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a speech before war veterans in Pyongyang, North Korea, Monday, July 27, 2020, marking the 67th anniversary of the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. Kim said his country’s hard-won nuclear weapons were a solid security guarantee and a “reliable, effective” deterrent that could prevent a second Korean War, state media reported Tuesday. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a speech before war veterans in Pyongyang, North Korea, Monday, July 27, 2020, marking the 67th anniversary of the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. Kim said his country’s hard-won nuclear weapons were a solid security guarantee and a “reliable, effective” deterrent that could prevent a second Korean War, state media reported Tuesday. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
In this Sunday, July 26, 2020, photo released by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, sitting center,  is surrounded by senior military officials holding “Paektusan” commemorative pistols they received from Kim during a ceremony in Pyongyang, North Korea. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
In this Sunday, July 26, 2020, photo released by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, sitting center, is surrounded by senior military officials holding “Paektusan” commemorative pistols they received from Kim during a ceremony in Pyongyang, North Korea. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
People watch fireworks exploded in Pyongyang, North Korea, Monday, July 27, 2020, marking the 67th anniversary of the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. (Kyodo News via AP)
People watch fireworks exploded in Pyongyang, North Korea, Monday, July 27, 2020, marking the 67th anniversary of the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. (Kyodo News via AP)
In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a speech before war veterans in Pyongyang, North Korea, Monday, July 27, 2020, marking the 67th anniversary of the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. Kim said his country’s hard-won nuclear weapons were a solid security guarantee and a “reliable, effective” deterrent that could prevent a second Korean War, state media reported Tuesday. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a speech before war veterans in Pyongyang, North Korea, Monday, July 27, 2020, marking the 67th anniversary of the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. Kim said his country’s hard-won nuclear weapons were a solid security guarantee and a “reliable, effective” deterrent that could prevent a second Korean War, state media reported Tuesday. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
People visit the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum to lay flowers on the occasion of the 67th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, which the country celebrates as the day of "victory in the fatherland liberation war" in Pyongyang, Monday, July 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)
People visit the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum to lay flowers on the occasion of the 67th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, which the country celebrates as the day of "victory in the fatherland liberation war" in Pyongyang, Monday, July 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)
People visit the statues of former North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il to lay flowers on the occasion of the 67th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, which the country celebrates as the day of "victory in the fatherland liberation war" in Pyongyang, Monday, July 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)
People visit the statues of former North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il to lay flowers on the occasion of the 67th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, which the country celebrates as the day of "victory in the fatherland liberation war" in Pyongyang, Monday, July 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)
ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsor Content

COMMENTS - It looks like you're using Internet Explorer, which isn't compatible with the Democrat-Gazette commenting system. You can join the discussion by using another browser, like Firefox or Google Chrome.
It looks like you're using Microsoft Edge. The Democrat-Gazette commenting system is more compatible with Firefox and Google Chrome.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT