North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has said the country’s nuclear capabilities will permanently guarantee its “national security and future,” according to media reports on Tuesday.

His remarks came at an event in the capital Pyongyang on Monday night to mark the 67th anniversary of the end of the 1950-1953 Korean War, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported.

They were a clear signal that North Korea has no intention of giving up its nuclear weapons and views them as an essential means of deterrence.

“Thanks to our reliable and effective self-defense war deterrence, there will no longer be war on this land and our national security and future will be firmly guaranteed permanently,” Kim said.

The Korean War claimed over two million lives as the North’s forces, backed by the Soviet Union and China, took on the South Korean military and US-led UN forces.

It ended in an armistice signed on July 27, 1953 which has left North and South Korea technically at war.

Amid persistent tensions on the Korean peninsula and pressure from the international community, particularly the US, Kim said nuclear weapons have given Pyongyang the ability to protect itself and safeguard its future.

“We have become a country that can strongly and reliably protect ourselves against any type of high-intensity pressure and military threats and blackmail,” Kim said.

He stressed that no country can underestimate North Korea anymore, warning that anyone who does will pay a heavy price.

“Bearing in mind that we should have a strong power to safeguard the fate of our country and people, we will never stop honing the most powerful national defense capacity that cannot be matched by anyone else,” he said.

Kim’s speech comes more than a year after the collapse of denuclearization talks with the US.

He held at least three meetings, including two summits, with US President Donald Trump from 2018 to 2019, with negotiations stalled since the Hanoi summit of February 2019 ended without an agreement.

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