Kim Jong Un orders 'exponential' expansion of North Korea's nuclear arsenal

Kim said North Korea plans on launching its first military satellite.

Updated: January 1, 2023 - 2:35pm

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered an "exponential increase" in the number of nuclear weapons in his country's arsenal and for a more powerful intercontinental ballistic missile to be developed, state media reported Sunday.

Kim conducted a record number of rocket launches last year. 

"While demanding an exponential increase in nuclear weapons arsenal, he declared a transformative strategy for the development of nuclear force and national defense in 2023 with this as the basic direction," the state-run outlet Korean Central News Agency said, as translated.

Kim also said the United States and its allies were "dealt a serious blow by the rapid advancement of our military power" and that North Korea plans on launching its first military satellite, the state outlet said.

The U.S. and its allies are attempting "to isolate and stifle the Korean Peninsula," Kim said. "The created situation demands redoubled efforts to strengthen the overwhelming military power that can thoroughly guarantee the sovereignty, security and fundamental interests of the Republic in response to the worrisome military behavior of the US and hostile forces."

North Korea is developing an ICBM "with a rapid nuclear counterattack capability," Kim said.

His comments come after North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles on New Year's Eve, The Associated Press reported. North Korea test-fired more than 70 missiles last year.

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