North proclaims nuclear ambition at congress

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North proclaims nuclear ambition at congress

North Korea adopted a decision to further pursue nuclear ambitions and economic development at its party congress, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Monday.

The adopted decision is a summary of Kim’s report before the 7th Congress of the Workers’ Party, in which Kim made clear his intention of pursuing both nuclear ambitions and economic development in a clear rebuff to international calls.

The state-controlled news agency reported that some 3,000 participants at the venue unanimously supported the decision on Sunday, the third day of the ongoing political gathering.

“The decision wholeheartedly supports Comrade Kim Jong-un’s report on the work of the party,” reported the KCNA, “which paves the way for the successful revolution.”

The decision adopted at the congress, the first one to be held in 36 years, reiterated what the young leader proclaimed before the congress in his 72,000-word report that praised the past work by his two predecessors, his grandfather Kim Il Sung and father Kim Jong-il, and laid out future development plans, including his intended pursuit of a nuclear arsenal as a military “deterrent.”

The decision calls on the impoverished state to push for “economic construction and building force,” adding that it will not use nuclear weapons “unless its sovereignty is encroached upon by hostile forces with nukes.” The decision also reiterated Kim’s address that his country would “fulfill its commitment to nuclear non-proliferation within the international community” as a “responsible nuclear state.”

Kim’s pledge is seen as part of its repeated demand that the international community, particularly the United States, recognize it as a nuclear state. Seoul criticized Kim’s remarks, saying its government and the international community will not accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state and that its “delusion” would only bring additional sanctions and isolation.

While Kim proposed military talks with the South and suggested that misunderstanding and mistrust between the two could be resolved through talks, the South Korean government brushed this off as “lacking sincerity,” citing the North’s insistence on nuclear weapons.

“We perceive it to be nothing more than a propaganda campaign that carries no sincerity,” said Jeong Joon-hee, spokesman of the Unification Ministry, at a regular briefing on Monday. “This is because the North is continuing its threats and its nuclear development, which could put Koreans on both sides in mortal danger.”

With the decision’s adoption on the third day of the event, attention is on an expected reshuffling of senior party members in favor of younger officials deemed loyal to Kim’s leadership, although no reports regarding the fourth day have come out as of press time Monday. Kim is also expected to receive a new party title. He is currently named the first secretary of the party.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]

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