North Korea has a “reliable and effective war deterrent for self-defence”: Kim Jong-un’s ambassador at United Nations

North Korea has a “reliable and effective war deterrent for self-defence” and was now focusing on developing its sanctions-hit economy, Kim Song, North Korea’s United Nations ambassador said on Tuesday.

In an address to the UN General Assembly, Kim said North Korea was still threatened by military hardware like stealth fighters being used on the Korean Peninsula and “nuclear strike means of all kinds are directly aimed at the DPRK”.

“Genuine peace can only be safeguarded when one possesses the absolute strength to prevent war itself,” Kim said. “As we have obtained the reliable and effective war deterrent for self-defence by tightening our belts, peace and security of the Korean Peninsula and the region are now firmly defended.”

Already weighed down by tough international sanctions for its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, Pyongyang is also facing significant economic damage from strict border closures and other measures aimed at preventing a coronavirus outbreak. It is also struggling to cope with damage from recent storms and flooding.

Kim said the pandemic situation in the “under safe and stable control” as a result of measures taken by the government to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. North Korea has said it has no confirmed cases, though some have cast doubt on that claim.

“Based on its reliable guarantee for safeguarding the security of the state and people, the DPRK is now directing all its efforts to economic construction,” said Kim, using his country’s formal name – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“It is a matter of fact that we badly need an external environment favourable for economic construction,” he said. “But, we cannot sell off our dignity just in a hope for brilliant transformation – the dignity which we have defended as valuable as our own life. This is our steadfast position.”