Kim Jong Un, the young leader of North Korea, made his first televised speech on Sunday, praising the country’s military as the country marks the 100th birthday of its founder.
Kim, believed to be in his late 20s, pronounced that military technology was no longer monopolized by “imperialists” and that the time when nuclear arms could threaten the poor, communist nation is “forever gone,” the Korea Herald quoted him as saying.
Kim’s remarks come just days after a highly flaunted long-range missile launch ended in failure as the alleged satellite rocket exploded shortly after takeoff.
“To build a strong socialist and prosperous nation, we should strengthen the People’s Army as the first, second and third priorities,” Kim said.
The new leader paid respect to his recently deceased father, Kim Jong Il, and to grandfather, Kim Il Sung, the nation’s founding father.
“Here lies our 100-year strategy of revolution and a final victory, as we follow the path of autonomy, the path of the military first, and the path of socialism that Great Leader Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il had shown us,” he said.
At the event, North Korea unveiled what appeared to be a new ballistic missile. A South Korean official on condition of anonymity told the Korea Times that the weapon is presumed to have a range of 3,700 miles and could hit targets in Alaska.
Tens of thousands of people, army members, tanks, and other armored vehicles were assembled at Kim Il Sung square for Kim’s address. Around 880 weapons and military hardware were paraded through the ceremony.