Kim Jong-un says North Korea will boost nuclear arsenal

Jan 11, 2021, 09:18 am

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At the ruling Workers Party 8th congress, which kicked off Tuesday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un vowed to advance his country’s nuclear arsenal while demanding the United States to withdraw its hostile policy toward Pyongyang./ Source: Yonhap

AsiaToday reporter Chun Hyun-bin

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made his hardline position clear just days ahead of President-elect Joe Biden taking office, leaving the Moon Jae-in administration and Biden administration concerned. At the ruling Workers Party 8th congress, which kicked off Tuesday, Kim vowed to advance his country’s nuclear arsenal while demanding the United States to withdraw its hostile policy toward Pyongyang. The upcoming combined exercises between South Korea and the United States, scheduled in March, are expected to be the first test and a turning point on the Korean Peninsula this year.

North Korea has clarified that it will steadily strengthen “the armed forces of the Republic politically and ideologically and in military technique” in its revised rules for the ruling Workers’ Party, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Sunday. The addition appears to reflect Kim’s will to bolster the country’s defense capabilities such as development of new weapons. As the North believes that the U.S. has been continuing its hostile policy toward the North since the breakdown of Hanoi talks in 2019, it announced that “possessing nuclear-powered submarine and underwater-launch nuclear strategic weapon to improve the ability to strike strategic targets” will be its key priorities. It seems the North’s strategy is stressing its key policy of strengthening national defense power aimed to take the initiative in the negotiations by pressing Seoul and Washington.

The North Korean leader revealed specific plans to strengthen the country’s national defense power. The plans include improving the ability of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) to strike strategic targets, and developing hypersonic weapons to neutralize the air defense network. While officially admitting for the first time that Pyongyang was developing a nuclear-powered submarine, Kim said the design of the weapon was in the “stage of final examination.”

North Korea is pressing the incoming Biden administration by showing off its national defense capabilities at the party congress. Kim’s remark indicates that Washington’s hostile policy toward Pyongyang would lead to the North’s strengthening of military power and bring military tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The North is seemingly seeking to relieve the sanctions against the country by raising pressure.

Kim said the key to establishing a new North Korea-United States relationship requires the US to end its hostile policy towards Pyongyang. He said the North will now “approach the US on the principle of strength for strength and goodwill for goodwill.” He also said, “We should put the focus of foreign political activities on containing and subduing the US, the fundamental obstacle to the development of our revolution and our foremost principal enemy.”

Regarding the inter-Korean relations, Kim said that progress depends on the implementation of inter-Korean agreement. “The South’s hostile military acts and anti-Republic riots continue to intensify the situation on the Korean Peninsula, which is leaving the prospect of improving the inter-Korean relations uncertain,” Kim said.

The North Korean leader strongly criticized the South’s introduction of advanced weapons and joint exercise with the United States, pointing out that Seoul is not keeping the inter-Korean military agreement. “Whether the inter-Korean relations can be restored or not entirely depends on the attitude of the South Korean authorities, and they will get what they pay for,” he said.

#Kim Jong-un #North Korea #nuclear weapon #congress #Biden 
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