Surrounded by missiles, North Korea's Kim Jong Un blames US for regional instability

North Korea's Defense Development Exhibition, held on October 11, displayed homegrown weapons and equipment developed in the past five years.

(CNN)North Korea's weapons are needed to defend the country against a "hostile" United States, said leader Kim Jong Un, state media KCNA reported Tuesday.

Kim made the comments as he stood against a backdrop of missiles at the Defense Development Exhibition to mark the 76th anniversary of North Korean Workers' Party.
"The US has been frequently sending signals that they are not hostile towards our country, but there is no single evidence that they are not hostile," said Kim, as he accused the US of causing instability in the Korean Peninsula.
    Photos of the exhibition, released by KCNA, appear to show an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that analysts believe is the Hwasong-16 -- one of the world's largest ballistic missiles -- first shown at a military parade in October 2020.
      Also pictured is a hypersonic glide vehicle, which allows missiles to theoretically fly as fast as 20 times the speed of sound and can be very maneuverable in flight -- making them almost impossible to shoot down, according to experts. Last month, North Korea claimed it had successfully test-fired a new hypersonic missile, named Hwasong-8 -- but its exact specifications are not yet known.
      South Korean military said after the launch the missile appears to be in early development and it would take considerable time for it to be deployed.
      Jeffrey Lewis, a professor and nuclear weapons expert at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies, said the exhibition focused on "the vast array of new missiles developed over the past five years" in North Korea.
        "The exhibition prominently features a gigantic missile that North Korea displayed in a parade last year and is likely intended to carry multiple nuclear warheads," he said. "It is both a display of past achievements, as well as a warning of what's to come."
        North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits an exhibition of weapons systems in Pyongyang on October 11.
        Describing the missiles as "our precious (weapons)," Kim said every country should maintain strong military power even in peaceful times, as self-defense capability is the "root of a nation's existence and security for development," KCNA reported.
        He blamed the US for "raising tensions in the region with its wrong decision-making" and accused Washington of being antagonistic toward North Korea.
        Kim also said South Korea's "hypocritical attitude" of building up its own arms while "shackling (North Korea) with the unlawful and ruthless UN resolution and the tacit protection of the US," was harming the emotional sentiment between the Koreas.