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North Korea's Kim Threatens Nuclear Retaliation If 'Sovereignty' Is Challenged

Image: North Korea's Kim Threatens Nuclear Retaliation If 'Sovereignty' Is Challenged

Sunday, 08 May 2016 10:33 AM

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he will only use nuclear weapons if his country comes under a nuke attack, and called for improving relations with other nations as a “nuclear power.”

Kim said at the first Workers’ Party congress in 36 years that North Korea should try to send more satellites into space, according to the Korean Central News Agency. The comment reaffirms his intention to develop long-range rockets that the U.S. says can be converted into inter-continental ballistic missiles.

Kim’s comments at the biggest political event under his rule confirm North Korea remains unwilling to abandon its nuclear-arms development or reform its centralized economy anytime soon. After its fourth nuclear test, conducted in January, the country has reiterated its demand that the U.S. treat it as a nuclear power in future negotiations.

“As a responsible nuclear weapons state, our republic will not use a nuclear
weapon unless its sovereignty is encroached upon by any aggressive hostile
forces with nukes,” Kim said at the congress in Pyongyang, KCNA reported. North Korea will cooperate with efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons for the eventual goal of “global denuclearization,” he said, according to KCNA.

Kim, who has conducted two nuclear tests since he took power in 2011, said he remains loyal to the songun, or military-first policy, his father Kim Jong Il chartered, and called for crackdowns on “enemy schemes” to undermine the country’s socialist system from within, the report said Sunday.

Socialist Goals

Kim has allowed greater private enterprises in North Korea since taking power and faced the question of how to deal with markets that have grown more influential ahead of the congress that began Friday. Kim praised his late father for having pursued socialist goals even during times when socialist nations were falling, and pledged he would continue on the path while uniting people behind the party’s ideals.

“He knows he can’t all of a sudden roll back the market economy that’s been growing, so he will probably try to bring the markets deeper within the boundaries of his control,” Hong Soon Jick, who studies North Korea’s economy at Seoul’s government-affiliated Korea Institute for National Unification, said after Kim’s speech. “The congress has given him a chance to take stock of what’s been happening with the economy.”

North Korea has set up a five-year economic development plan beginning this year, according to Kim’s speech, following suit with previous party congresses where projects to raise people’s living standards were unveiled. Few details of that plan were disclosed.

“The autonomous defense industries created by songun rule have guaranteed the strong defense of the citadel of socialism and the nation’s security,” Kim said, criticizing the “winds of bourgeois liberalization” that have blown into the country.

North Korea seeks better relations with South Korea through talks, Kim said, urging the government in Seoul to respect past agreements between the two countries. A set of economic cooperation deals between the two sides remains on ice as South Korea demands North Korea first halt its nuclear-arms development.

North Korea’s economy has grown modestly since Kim came to power, with food crop production increasing partly due to a lack of serious droughts or floods. The improving economic conditions have emboldened him to hold a party congress that wasn’t held under the reign of his father, Kim Jong Il, analysts said. Still, Kim faces the pressure of making good on his 2012 pledge to never let his people “tighten the belts,” now especially more than ever because he has made his nation believe he has done enough to substantially improve nuclear arms, Hong said.

“This congress is his mid-term review of the way he’s been running the country,” Hong said. “To truly open an era of his own, he has got to show his people a new economic vision.”


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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he will only use nuclear weapons if his country comes under a nuke attack, and called for improving relations with other nations as a "nuclear power."Kim said at the first Workers' Party congress in 36 years that North Korea should try...
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Sunday, 08 May 2016 10:33 AM
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