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N. Korea vows to develop "special" weapons as South buys U.S. F-35A

North Korea has been forced to develop "special" weapons to counter the South's deployment of U.S. F-35A stealth fighter jets, an official of the country's Foreign Ministry was quoted as saying by the state-run Korean Central News Agency on Thursday.
The delivery of the F-35As is aimed at "especially opening a 'gate' to invading the north in time of emergency on the Korean peninsula," the policy research director at the Institute for American Studies of the Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by KCNA.
"We, on our part, have no other choice but to develop and test the special armaments to completely destroy the lethal weapons reinforced in south Korea," the director added. The official did not elaborate on specifically what kind of weapons North Korea will pursue.
The statement comes around 10 days after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held an impromptu meeting on June 30 with U.S. President Donald Trump at the truce village of Panmunjeom. The two leaders have emphasized their personal relations are amicable.
In consideration of the United States, North Korea is unlikely to carry out long-range ballistic missile and nuclear tests, foreign affairs experts say.
South Korea, which acquired its first two F-35A jets in March, has agreed with the United States to purchase a total of 40 of the state-of-the-art aircraft by 2021. The North has criticized F-35A as an "invisible lethal weapon."
Pyongyang, meanwhile, changed the status of the head of the country's highest decision-making organ when it revised its Constitution in April, a website managed by North Korea has shown, in an apparent move to bolster Kim's influence in diplomacy.
According to the full text of the amended Constitution released on the website in Korean, the definition of the chairman of the State Affairs Commission has been changed from "the supreme leader" to "the supreme leader who represents the state."
Kim, who was re-elected as chairman of the State Affairs Commission in April, had already held absolute control in North Korea. It is uncertain how the constitutional revision will affect the nation's diplomatic policy.
In April, Kim became the first North Korean leader to not sit in the country's top legislative body since the inaugural election held in 1948. His absence from the ballot raised speculation that he would assume a new post in a bid to tighten his grip on power.


© KYODO
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