North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promised to “reinforce” his country’s nuclear arsenal in his closing speech at the ruling party’s congress, the official press reported on Wednesday, days before Joe Biden assumes the presidency of the United States. United.
According to analysts, Kim is trying to attract the attention of the new US administration, now that his country is more isolated than ever after closing the borders to protect itself from the coronavirus pandemic.
“By strengthening our nuclear warfare arsenal, we must do everything possible to build the most powerful army,” Kim told the Workers’ Party Congress, the official KCNA news agency reports.
Shortly before, on the eighth day of the congress – which has been twice as long as the last one held in 2016 -, Kim assured that the United States “it is the main obstacle to the development of our revolution and our main enemy“.
“The true intention of his policy towards the DRC (Democratic Republic of North Korea) will never change, regardless of who is in power,” he added without mentioning Biden’s name.
North Korea has concluded, Kim said, its plans to develop a nuclear submarine, – which will be a strategic inflection point – and announced the list of weapons targets, such as supersonic nuclear warheads, military reconnaissance satellites and solid-fuel ICBMs.
The North’s arms programs have accelerated since Kim came to power, including the most powerful nuclear bomb to date and missiles capable of reaching the United States, albeit at the cost of tightening international sanctions.
At the October military parade, North Korea displayed its new giant intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which would be, according to analysts, the largest in the world powered by liquid fuel that can travel by road.
Kim and the outgoing US president, Donald Trump, had a tumultuous relationship, initially peppered with mutual insults and threats of war, to move to a close relationship and declarations of love for the US president.
However, the nuclear summit between the two leaders in Hanoi in February 2019 ended abruptly with no agreement on sanctions relief and what Pyongyang would be willing to give up in return.
The change of leadership in Washington presents a challenge to Pyongyang: Biden has called Kim a “bully” during the presidential debates, while for this he is a “mad dog” who must be “beaten to death.”
Strengthen the authority of Kim Jong Il
The congress is the highest instance of the ruling party, a great political mass that reinforces the authority of the regime and can serve as a platform for political announcements or changes in the ruling elite.
At the meeting, Kim was elected the party’s general secretary, a title previously reserved for his father and predecessor Kim Jong Il, in what analysts say is a step to strengthen his authority.
North Korea’s economy struggles to cope with the self-imposed lockdown to fight coronavirus, mismanagement, and sanctions. Kim has reiterated during the congress that mistakes had been made.
“Almost all sectors fell far short of the objectives set” in the country’s economic plan, he said.
The KCNA reported that the Supreme People’s Assembly, the unicameral parliament, will meet on Sunday.
For her part, the influential sister of the top leader, Kim Yo Jong, assured that a military parade is scheduled for the congress.
In a statement released by KCNA, he called Seoul authorities “idiots” after South Korean chiefs of staff claimed there were signs of a possible military parade in Pyongyang this weekend.
The statement is “absurd” and a demonstration of the “hostile attitude” of the South, he added.
“We are only going to carry out a military parade in the capital, not military exercises against anyone or throwing anything,” said the leader’s sister.
Kim Yo Jong appears to have been demoted at the party congress, as he is not on the list of people appointed to serve on the party’s central committee, having been a substitute.
But the release of a statement in his own name is an indication that he remains important in Northern diplomacy, having been behind the destruction of the South liaison office last year. (I)