PYONGYANG, North Korea - North Korea is armed with "powerful modern weapons" capable of defeating the United States, a top military chief in Pyongyang said Wednesday amid increased speculation abroad about the nation's missile arsenal and nuclear ambitions.
Vice Marshal Ri Yong Ho emphasized the importance of strengthening the military to defend North Korea against threats it sees from the United States and South Korea. He called his nation a nuclear and military power and praised new leader Kim Jong Un, believed to be in his late 20s, as a "military strategist" who has been giving the army guidance for years.
"The Korean People's Army is armed with powerful modern weapons ... that can defeat the (U.S.) imperialists at a single blow," he told party and military officials, using familiar descriptions of the country's rivals. Previously, the Associated Press reported that Ri said the country was armed with "mobile" weapons, but the AP later reported that "modern" was the correct translation. N. Korea warns of "special actions" against South Experts:
NKorea missile carrier likely from China S. Korea unveils missiles as "warning" to North The meeting, attended by Kim Jong Un, was held to mark the 80th anniversary of the army's founding. The Associated Press was among foreign news agencies based in Pyongyang allowed to observe the closed meeting at the April 25 House of Culture. Ri, who is chief of the army's General Staff, did not provide further details about North Korea's weapons, but his call to arms comes as the United States, Britain and others warn the nation against a provocation that would further heighten tensions. The Korean peninsula officially remains at war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. North Korea is believed to have some nuclear weapons but not the technology to put them on long-range missiles.