Published: 10:31, January 13, 2021 | Updated: 05:22, June 5, 2023
KCNA: DPRK's Kim urges stronger military capabilities
By Reuters

This picture taken on Jan 12, 2021 and released from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Jan 13 shows DPRK leader Kim Jong-un (center) and other officials during the last day of the 8th Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) in Pyongyang. (KCNA VIA KNS / AFP)

SEOUL - Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) leader Kim Jong-un called for maximum military power and greater nuclear war deterrence, state news agency Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Wednesday, as a rare ruling party congress came to a close after eight days of policy discussions.

DPRK leader Kim Jong-un 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”

The Eighth Party Congress comes less than two weeks before US President-elect Joe Biden takes office and amid a prolonged gridlock in talks aimed at ending the DPRK’s nuclear and missile programmes in return for US 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”.

In his speech, Kim clarified the main idea and spirit of the congress and stressed the need for the whole party to deeply cherish and uphold the ideas of "believing in people as in Heaven", "single-minded unity" and "self-reliance," according to the report.

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Kim said the party's eighth congress "brought up the immediate plan of struggle for opening up a period of fresh upsurge, a period of great changes in the revolution and construction" and important issues arising from the party's development, KCNA reported.

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 the DPRK’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 the Republic of Korea’s (ROK) military for monitoring a parade in Pyongyang. The move was an expression of the ROK’s “hostile approach” towards the DPRK, she said in a separate statement carried by KCNA.

The ROK’s military said on Monday it had detected signs that the DPRK held a night time military parade on Sunday for its ruling Worker’s Party congress.