North Korean leader Kim Jong Un criticized the US for hostile policies and said his country is boosting its military capabilities to protect national sovereignty, state media KCNA reported Tuesday.
Kim accused the US of being the "root cause" of the Korean Peninsula's instability. He stated that there is no reason to assume that Washington's attitude toward Pyongyang is anything other than "hostile."
Tensions between US and the North Korea have heightened after Pyongyang test-fired multiple missiles in the past few months.
Kim Blames US for Tensions in Region
"We are not discussing war with anyone, but rather to prevent war itself and to literally increase war deterrence for the protection of national sovereignty," he said at a defense exhibition amid reports that the country recently tested a hypersonic missile.
Kim made the comments as he stood against a backdrop of missiles at the Defense Development Exhibition titled "Self-Defense 2021" to mark the 76th anniversary of North Korean Workers' Party, reported CNN. The exhibition included aerobatics flights and martial arts displays, according to AFP.
The Biden administration has repeatedly stated that it has no hostile intent towards the North, but Kim stated at the exhibition, "I am very curious if there are people or countries who believe that."
"There is no basis in their actions for believing that it is not hostile," he added, according to KCNA.
Kim Vows to Build 'Invincible' Military
Kim made his latest remarks while standing in front of a variety of weapons, including a Hwasong-16 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), according to photos published in a local newspaper.
North Korea's largest ICBM, the Hwasong-16, was unveiled at a military parade late last year, but it is yet to be test-fired, reported DW News.
Kim emphasized on North Korea's readiness to continue with weapons development to increase deterrence in the nation's self-defense. He also warned South Korea by saying if Seoul continues to raise issues with Pyongyang's weapon development, it will be met with "powerful action," Kyodo News reported citing KCNA.
Jeffrey Lewis, a professor and nuclear weapons expert at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies, said the exhibition focused on "the vast array of new missiles developed over the past five years" in North Korea.
"The exhibition prominently features a gigantic missile that North Korea displayed in a parade last year and is likely intended to carry multiple nuclear warheads," he said, according to CNN. "It is both a display of past achievements, as well as a warning of what's to come."