In a belligerent speech commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Communist Workers’ Party, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un told a captive audience his military is “capable of fighting any kind of war” against the United States, implying that North Korea has nuclear capabilities.
“Our party dauntlessly declares that our revolutionary armed forces are capable of fighting any kind of war provoked by the US,” Kim said at the event, receiving thunderous applause from North Koreans gathered in Pyongyang to celebrate the founding of the party that had seen the Kim family become a nation’s ruling dynasty. Kim, who was speaking publicly for the first time in three years, added a confirmation of his “love for the people” and general condemnation of the “American imperialists.”
The speech lasted 25 minutes, reports South Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo, and was part of a day-long celebration whose flagship event was a gigantic military parade in Pyongyang. The parade featured, according to the newspaper, “a KN-08 intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of 12,000 km, which is probably capable of reaching the western part of the U.S. mainland, and 300-mm multiple rocket launchers that could strike the Gyeryongdae military complex in South Korea’s South Chungcheong Province.”
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) October 10, 2015
— AFP Photo Department (@AFPphoto) October 10, 2015
— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) October 10, 2015
A representative of the Chinese government, Liu Yunshan, attended the event, which many media sources have taken as a sign that China is attempting to rekindle what has become a lukewarm relationship between North Korea and its only ally. Liu told reporters following a private meeting with Kim that his country sought a “continuation of traditional friendship” between the two countries.
While the Chinese government issued warm statements, Chinese Internet users on closely monitored social media accounts took to insulting much of the parade while perusing news reports and images. Reports UPI:
One commenter who identified himself as a history professor at Harbin Normal University said North Korea’s highest calling is to hold military parades, followed by “standing guard near the demilitarized zone.”
“Their next priorities are robbing Chinese fishermen at sea, and killing [Chinese] farmers at the border,” the commenter said.
Chinese state media has condemned such comments and warned users to keep their lips sealed about North Korea.
The return of China to North Korea’s sphere of influence after Pacific Command chief Navy Adm. Harry B. Harris, Jr., warned North Korea’s behavior had grown increasingly volatile in September follows more recent comments from the Admiral that North Korea is “the greatest threat that I face on a day-to-day basis.”
“The greatest threat that I face on a day-to-day basis is the threat from North Korea because you have an unpredictable leader who is in complete command of his country and his military,” he told the Military Reporters and Editors Association. He warned that Kim was “on a quest for nuclear weapons” and that his belligerence “poses a very real threat” to the entire region, not jus the United States.
The head of the Pentagon’s Northern Command, Adm. William Gortney, warned Monday that North Korea poses a threat to the United States, as well. “I agree with the intel community that we assess that they have the ability, they have the weapons, and they have the ability to miniaturize those weapons, and they have the ability to put them on a rocket that can range the homelands,” he said. “And as the defender of North America, the United States officially, in the ballistic missile defense, I think the American people expect me to take the threat seriously.”