Monday 17 January 2022
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Kim Jong-un threatens nuclear expansion: ‘Will bring US to knees’

North Korea leader Kim Jong-un has threatened that he will be expanding its nuclear arsenal as he termed the United States as his country’s “biggest enemy“. He said that North Korea’s external political activities would focus on their arch-enemy to bring the US “to their knees”.

Made weeks before Joe Biden swears in as the next US President, and after a tumultuous relationship between the North Korean dictator and US President Donald Trump, the comment suggests that Kim does not believe a Democrat government would be softer than a one to his regime.

Kim and Trump engaged in a dispute followed by a diplomatic relationship that featured headline-making summits and love declared by the President of US, but no major progress took place, with the process deadlocked after a in Hanoi broke up over sanctions relief.

Kim told the five-yearly congress of the ruling workers’ Party of Korea that Pyongyang should focus and be developed for subverting the US, “the biggest obstacle for our revolution” and “our biggest enemy”, as per official KCNA news agency reports. “No matter who is in power, the true nature of its policy against North Korea will never change,” it quoted him, without mentioning Biden’s name.

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un on 6 January presided over the ruling party’s Congress, the first during the past five years. On 6 January, the second day of the meeting, Kim again talked about “improving the people’s living standard,” the Korean Central News Agency said, and “placing the state defense capabilities on a much higher level”. During the opening day, leader Kim Jong Un admitted a failure in his previous economic development plans.

Congress is being held during a challenging period of Jong Un’s nine-year rule, what he had called “multiple crises”. North Korea is one of the poorest countries in Asia, and the already besieged economy is being hammered by pandemic related border closings with China. The fallout from a series of natural disasters last summer and persistent US-led sanctions over the nuclear program have added further to problems.

Kim Jong-un’s declarations came in his nine-hour work report to the meeting, spread over three days, which KCNA was reporting in detail for the first time.

Congress is the top ruling party gathering, a grand political set-piece that reinforces the regime’s authority and can serve as a platform for announcements of policy shifts or elite personnel changes.

For several days, state television has been showing images of the 7,000 delegates and attendees packed into the cavernous 25 April House of Culture venue, none of them wearing masks, repeatedly applauding Kim wildly during his speech.

The gathering comes with North Korea more isolated than ever after closing its borders last January to protect itself against the coronavirus that first emerged in neighbour and key ally China.

That has added to the pressures on the North, with Pyongyang blockading itself far more effectively than even the most hawkish advocate of sanctions could ever hope to achieve, and trade with at a fraction of the usual level.

In his work report, Kim admitted mistakes had been made in the last five years and that “almost all sectors fell a long way short of the set objectives” in the country’s economic plan.

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