SEOUL | North Korean leader Kim Jong-un pledged to bolster North Korea’s nuclear arsenal during his closing speech at the ruling party’s congress, KCNA news agency reported on Wednesday.
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“By strengthening our nuclear military deterrence, we must do everything to build the most powerful military apparatus,” Kim said at the close of the Workers’ Party, according to the official North Korean agency.
During this congress, which lasted eight days, twice as long as the previous Workers’ Party congress in 2016, Kim Jong-un severely criticized the United States, a few days before the inauguration of the Democratic president Joe Biden.
“Our main enemy”
The United States, he said, is “the fundamental obstacle to the development of our revolution and our main enemy”.
“The true intent of their policy towards the DPRK will never change, no matter who comes to power,” Kim said, using the acronym for the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
He didn’t mention Joe Biden’s name.
Kim said North Korea has made plans to build a nuclear submarine – a strategically game-changing development. And he cited a long list of strategic weapons, including hypersonic nuclear warheads, military reconnaissance satellites, and solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles.
North Korean military programs have progressed rapidly since Kim Jong-un took office. North Korea carried out its most powerful nuclear test during this period and equipped itself with missiles capable of reaching the entire mainland of the United States.
The continuation of these developments prohibited by several resolutions of the United Nations Security Council has led to a strengthening of international sanctions against Pyongyang.
During a military parade last October, North Korea showcased a new super-large intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which experts say is the largest known road-movable liquid-fueled missile. in the world.
The Workers’ Party Congress and Mr. Kim’s strong statements come as Democrat Joe Biden in Washington is about to replace Republican Donald Trump in the White House.
MM. Kim and Trump had a tumultuous relationship, sparked by exchanges of insults and mutual threats of all-out war before culminating in a dramatic diplomatic rapprochement and a world-wide summit in June 2018 in Singapore.
A second summit between the two men, in February 2019 in Hanoi, failed due to differences of opinion on the relief of international sanctions that Mr. Kim called for before embarking on a denuclearization process. The negotiations have since stalled.
The change of leadership in Washington is a challenge for Kim. Even before the presidential election campaign last November, during which Biden called the North Korean leader a “thug,” Pyongyang made no secret of his dislike of the former Democratic vice-president.
The KCNA agency launched a verbal attack of rare violence against him in November 2019. “Rabid dogs like Biden can hurt a lot of people if they are allowed to run free,” the official agency said. “You have to beat them to death with a stick”.
During the just-concluded congress, Kim was elected general secretary of the Workers’ Party of which he was so far chairman on Sunday, a symbolic name change aimed at strengthening his power, analysts said.
North Korea, hit hard by international sanctions and more isolated than ever due to the coronavirus pandemic, is in the throes of immense economic hardship.
During the congress, Mr. Kim made the observation of the failure of the economic policy carried out recently in North Korea, declaring that “almost all sectors” had not reached their objectives.
South Korean authorities are “dumb”
Influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called South Korean authorities “dumb”, who said they had observed signs of a possible military parade this weekend in Pyongyang, reported Wednesday the official North Korean agency KCNA.
“Southerners are a really strange and difficult group to understand,” Kim Yo-jong, a key advisor to Kim, said in a statement relayed by KCNA.
“They are idiots and are at the top of the bad behavior list in the world,” she blasted.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was elected “unanimously” secretary general of the ruling Workers’ Party at the training congress on Sunday. This congress would also have been an opportunity for Pyongyang to organize a military parade.
The South Korean military said it detected signs that such a parade took place on Sunday evening. However, she was unable to say whether it was “the event itself or a rehearsal.”
This statement was “senseless” and demonstrated a “hostile attitude” on the part of the South, said Kim Yo-jong.
“We are only organizing a military parade in the capital, no military exercises targeting anyone or launching anything,” she said, implicitly confirming the parade was being held.
On Wednesday, in his closing speech at the one-party congress, leader Kim Jong-un promised to “strengthen” his country’s nuclear arsenal, but also admitted errors in the management of the economy, according to KCNA.
Kim Yo-jong is not on the list of those appointed to the Central Committee, which could suggest a decline in his influence over his brother and the head of power.
But the publication of a statement on her behalf, relayed by KCNA, indicates that she remains a key actor in North Korean diplomacy.
North Korea, hit hard by international sanctions and more isolated than ever due to the coronavirus pandemic, is in the throes of immense economic difficulties.