2/2 © Reuters. 8th Congress of the Workers’ Party in Pyongyang 2/2
By Sangmi Cha SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for maximum military power and greater deterrence of nuclear war, state news agency KCNA reported on Wednesday, when a rare ruling party congress reached his end after eight days of policy discussions. The Eighth Party Congress comes less than two weeks before US President-elect Joe Biden takes office and amid a prolonged stalemate in talks aimed at ending Korea’s nuclear and missile programs North in exchange for relief from US sanctions. “We must do everything possible to further increase the deterrence of nuclear war as we build the strongest military capability,” Kim told KCNA at the end of the congress. Kim said last week that he would expand military capabilities to better defend the country and called for “putting the state’s defense capabilities at a much higher level.” Since announcing a self-declared moratorium on nuclear testing and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launches beginning in 2018, Kim has called for continued production of nuclear weapons for his arsenal, launched a number of smaller missiles and unveiled what would be the largest intercontinental ballistic missile in North Korea. still in a parade in October. The eight-day congress in Pyongyang is the first since 2016, which in turn was the first since 1980. Kim told the party congress last week that his five-year economic plan had failed to meet its objectives, blaming international sanctions. as well as unforeseen crises, including the coronavirus pandemic and natural disasters. Meanwhile, Kim Yo Jong, the leader’s sister and a member of the party’s Central Committee, criticized the South Korean army for monitoring a parade in Pyongyang. The move was an expression of the South’s “hostile approach” to the North, it said in a separate KCNA statement. South Korea’s military said on Monday that it had detected signs that North Korea held a nightly military parade on Sunday for its ruling Workers’ Party congress.