North Korea's Kim urges stronger military capabilities as party congress ends

By Sangmi Cha SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for maximum military power and greater nuclear war deterrence, state news agency KCNA reported on Wednesday, as a rare ruling party congress came to a close after eight days of policy discussions. The Eighth Party Congress comes less than two weeks before U.S. President-elect Joe Biden takes office and amid a prolonged gridlock in talks aimed at ending the North's nuclear and missile programmes in return for U.S.

Reuters January 13, 2021 05:10:28 IST
North Korea's Kim urges stronger military capabilities as party congress ends

North Koreas Kim urges stronger military capabilities as party congress ends

By Sangmi Cha

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for maximum military power and greater nuclear war deterrence, state news agency KCNA reported on Wednesday, as a rare ruling party congress came to a close after eight days of policy discussions.

The Eighth Party Congress comes less than two weeks before U.S. President-elect Joe Biden takes office and amid a prolonged gridlock in talks aimed at ending the North's nuclear and missile programmes in return for U.S. sanction relief.

"We must do everything we can to increase nuclear war deterrence even further as we build the strongest military capability," KCNA quoted Kim as saying at the conclusion of the congress.

Kim said last week he would expand military capabilities to better defend the country and called for "placing state defence capabilities on a much higher level".

Since announcing a self-declared moratorium on nuclear testing and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launches from 2018, Kim has called for continued production of nuclear weapons for his arsenal, launched a series of smaller missiles, and unveiled what would be North Korea's largest ICBM yet at a parade in October.

The congress, which ran for eight days in Pyongyang, is the first since 2016, which was in turn the first since 1980.

Kim told the party congress last week that his five-year economic plan had failed to meet its goals, blaming international sanctions as well as unanticipated crises including the coronavirus pandemic and natural disasters.

Separately, Kim Yo Jong, the leader's sister and a member of the party Central Committee, criticised South Korea's military for monitoring a parade in Pyongyang. The move was an expression of the South's "hostile approach" towards the North, she said in a separate statement carried by KCNA.

South Korea's military said on Monday it had detected signs that North Korea held a night time military parade on Sunday for its ruling Worker's Party congress.

(Reporting by Sangmi Cha; editing by Richard Pullin)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.