Kim says Pyongyang wants peace
North Korea will not use its nuclear weapons first unless its sovereignty is invaded, leader Kim Jong Un has stated during a critical ruling party congress.
Kim also said he is ready to improve ties with “hostile” nations in a diplomatic overture in the face of international pressure over its recent nuclear test and long-range rocket launch. He called for more talks with rival South Korea to reduce misunderstanding and distrust between them and urged the United States to stay away from inter-Korean issues, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.
“Our republic is a responsible nuclear state that, as we made clear before, will not use nuclear weapons first unless aggressive hostile forces use nuclear weapons to invade on our sovereignty,” Kim said in a speech carried by the KCNA.
He said that North Korea “will sincerely fulfill its duties for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and work to realise the denuclearization of the world”.
The North is ready to improve and normalise ties with countries hostile to it if they respect its sovereignty and approach it in a friendly manner, Kim added.
Despite the talks about more diplomatic activity, Kim also made it clear that the North has no plans to discard its “byongjin” policy of simultaneously developing its weapons and its domestic economy.
In a speech published by the North’s Rodong Sinmun, Kim described the twin policy as a strategy the party must permanently hold on to for the “maximised interest of our revolution”.
Many outside analysts consider the policy unlikely to succeed because of the heavy price North Korea pays for its nuclear programme in terms of international sanctions that keep its economy from growing.
At the congress, Kim also announced a five-year plan starting this year to develop the North’s dismal economy and identified improving the country’s power supply and increasing its agricultural and light-manufacturing production as the critical parts of the programme. He also said the country must secure more electricity through nuclear power plants, according to the state media.
Analysts have anticipated Kim would use the first Workers’ Party congress in decades to propose talks with rivals to exploit what he considers to be increased leverage as a nuclear power.
Kim also said he is willing to talk to the South to reduce border tensions but said Seoul must show it is willing to play its part by stopping military drills with the US. nuclear
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