We must strengthen our nuclear arsenal | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 14, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:22 AM, January 14, 2021

We must strengthen our nuclear arsenal

Says Kim as key party meeting ends

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged to strengthen his country's nuclear arsenal as he delivered his closing address to a top ruling party meeting, state television showed yesterday, days before Joe Biden takes office as US president. 

Kim is looking to grab the attention of the incoming Biden administration, analysts say, with his country more isolated than ever after closing its borders to protect itself against the coronavirus pandemic.

A nuclear summit between Kim and outgoing US President Donald Trump in Hanoi in February 2019 broke down over sanctions relief and what Pyongyang would be willing to give up in return.

"We must further strengthen the nuclear war deterrent while doing our best to build up the most powerful military strength," Kim told the Workers' Party congress, footage broadcast on Korea Central Television showed.

Thousands of delegates and attendees -- none of them wearing masks -- repeatedly rose to their feet in the cavernous April 25 House of Culture venue to interrupt his speech with applause.

Earlier in the eight-day meeting, which has lasted twice as long as the previous gathering in 2016, Kim called the US "the fundamental obstacle to the development of our revolution and our foremost principal enemy".

Its policy towards the North "will never change, whoever comes into power", he added, without mentioning Biden by name.

The North had completed plans for a nuclear-powered submarine, he said -- a strategic game-changer -- and offered a shopping list including hypersonic gliding warheads, military reconnaissance satellites and solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

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