The secretive state initially sparked concerns when a document leaked to an American publication showed that, contrary to belief, Pyongyang never intended to give up their nuclear weapons. Instead, Kim Jong Un aimed to walk away from the latest nuclear summit with US President Donald Trump with a deal that recognised North Korea as a nuclear power. Fears over the rogue state’s possible growing aggression intensified after a “suspected explosion” triggered an earthquake in Hunchun city.
Despite Mr Trump’s confidence that the Supreme Leader is committed to scrapping the country’s nuclear programme, yesterday’s tremor could end up being North Korea’s seventh nuclear test, and its first since September 2017.
The document – circulated last December for top North Korean military officials but leaked to the American media this week – contradicts Kim Jong Un’s 2019 New Year message in which he pledged the rapid denuclearisation of his nation.
Instead, it says that they want “to achieve the final outcome of raising the [North Korea’s] status as a world-class nuclear force nation”.
It also says that Washington desperately convened meetings to negotiate disarmament because they were “so terrified” by their nuclear capability.
The document continues: “The Korea People’s Army must firmly hold the nuclear weapons [as] our all-around security sword to protect the revolutionary leadership like an impregnable fortress.
“The dear supreme commander will dominate the world with nuclear weapons, will make the US apologise and compensate for us for decades of bullying our people, and will declare to the entire world that the world’s powerful order will be reshaped by the Juche-Korea, not the United States.”
The implications of the leaked document could suggest the secretive state made no moves to denuclearise after Kim’s first summit with President Trump last year.
The news will trigger fears that, after the two nuclear summits in Hannoi and Singapore broke down, hope of peace talks between Washington and Pyongyang are fast diminishing.
The incident comes as Xi Jinping showered praise on his North Korean counterpart ahead of his visit to Pyongyang tomorrow.
In an op-ed in North Korean state newspaper Rodong Sinmun, he said that China supports the country’s “correct direction” and supports Kim’s achievements in “socialist construction”.
He added: “We will actively contribute to peace, stability, development and prosperity in the region by strengthening communication and coordination with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”
Having met four times previously – though this is their first meeting in North Korea – the talks will be centred around nuclear peace talks.
He becomes the first Chinese leader to visit the nation in 14 years.
North Korea is just one of four countries outside the UN Security Council to possess nuclear weapons.
In 1994, the US negotiated the Agreed Framework with the DPRK to pursue disarmament – but since it broke down in 2003, sanctions and political pressure have been placed on Pyongyang in an attempt to subdue the country.