North Korea has vowed to speed up the production of its nuclear arsenal, and has threatened once again to use the weapons if provoked.
“We will continue to implement measures aimed at strengthening and developing our country’s nuclear forces at the maximum speed,” the country’s leader, Kim Jong-Un, announced during a speech at a military parade in Pyongyang on Monday night, according to state media.
Kim told the crowd that North Korea could preemptively use its nuclear weapons when threatened by attacks, and called for his nuclear forces to be fully prepared to go "in motion at any time.”
The military parade was held to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People's Revolutionary Army, and featured an array of weapons, including missiles that the country claims can reach as far as the United States.
Relations between Pyongyang and the West remain tense. Nuclear weapon negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington stalled in 2019, two years after North Korea announced it possessed missiles that could reach the continental United States.
United Nations Security Council resolutions have banned the country’s nuclear program, but to little effect.
Meanwhile, officials from South Korea and the US have warned that there are signs that North Korea has started construction again at its only known nuclear test site. Reports suggest that North Korea is preparing to renew its nuclear arms testing.
Since 2019 the country has been working on expanding its short-range arsenal that can reach South Korea, according to reports.