North Korea aims to become 'the world's greatest nuclear power'

By Jennie Oh  |  Dec. 12, 2017 at 8:43 PM
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Seoul, SOUTH KOREA, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged his regime would become "the world's greatest nuclear and military power" at an arms industry conference on Tuesday.

The North's state-run Korea Central News Agency reported Wednesday that Kim spoke at the closing of the Eighth Munitions Industry Conference held in Pyongyang.

The two-day convention had gathered key officials, scientists and workers in the defense science industry, including those involved in the making of the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile launched on Nov. 29.

Kim, in his speech, lauded the scientists, technicians and workers who had "demonstrated their strong sense of duty in bringing about the ultimate victory by strengthening nuclear power and creating state-of-the-art weapons."

He said the "completion of the North's nuclear force," through the development of homegrown atomic and hydrogen bombs and new strategic weapons such as the Hwasong-15 ICBM has rendered "a magnificent, historic victory for the party and the people."

Kim handed out awards to the developers of Hwasong-15.

The leader also laid out the arms industry's mid-term goals as well as ways to achieve strategic and vital tasks, according to the KCNA report, which didn't mention the specific details.

Meanwhile, continuous activities have been detected at the North's main nuclear test site of Punggyeri, according to recent satellite imagery analyzed by 38 North.

The North Korea monitoring website noted that tunnel work appears to be ongoing near the West Portal, with routine presence of vehicles and personnel dumping soil. These activities suggest the North is expanding beyond the North Portal, where the last five tests were conducted, in order to broaden the base for future nuclear testing.

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