Kim Jong-un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, accused the United States of inciting tensions on the Korean Peninsula and called for the boosting of self-defensive capability to counter "hostile forces", state media Korean Central News Agency said on Tuesday.
In a speech on Monday at a defense development exhibition to mark the 76th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, Kim made the comments criticizing Seoul and Washington over their combined military exercises and weapons development.
"Recently, the U.S. has frequently sent signals that it is not hostile to our state. But its behavior provides us no reason on why we should believe them," Kim said. "The U.S. is still generating regional tension with its wrong judgment and acts."
Li Nan, a researcher with the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Kim's speech serves as a reminder to the U.S. that it must change its policy toward Pyongyang before the two sides return to the negotiation table.
"The U.S. is saying one thing but doing another, so the DPRK felt the need to strengthen its own self-defense forces to protect itself and maintain regional peace," Li said.
Kim's remarks on Monday came less than two weeks after the DPRK tested a new anti-aircraft missile in its fourth missile launch in September.
Kim also slammed the Republic of Korea for being "hypocritical "and having "double standards" for continuing to boost military capabilities, and said the DPRK would respond with "strong actions" if Seoul continues to "infringe upon our rights to self-defense".
The DPRK leader called on boosting the country's military capabilities to counter hostile forces, but noted the enhancement of its military is not aimed at the ROK, and that the "horrific history" of conflict among the same people should not be repeated "on this land".
"It is because self-defensive power is the root of existence of a state and guarantee of its development," he added.
Zhan Debin, an international relations professor at the Shanghai University of International Business and Economics, said Pyongyang wants to send a signal that the enhancement of its military is only for the purpose of self-defense, which is not a military threat to Washington and Seoul.
"The name of the exhibition (Self-Defense-2021) and Kim's speech are both indicating the nature of self-defense," said Zhan, adding that Washington and Seoul's pursuit of military superiority on the peninsula has driven Pyongyang to boost its capacities.
Li said Kim's speech was also aimed at uniting the country and boosting domestic morale.
"It's a demonstration of advanced military forces in the country," he said. But Li added "the uncertainties on the Korean Peninsula are increasing" amid a stalemate in DPRK-U.S. talks.
Xinhua and agencies contributed to this story.