clearn.png
Friday December 3rd, 2021 6:02AM

N. Korea threatens to build more nukes, cites US hostility

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un threatened to expand his nuclear arsenal as he disclosed a list of high-tech weapons systems under development, saying the fate of relations with the United States depends on whether it abandons its hostile policy, state media reported Saturday.

Kim’s comments during a key meeting of the ruling party this week were seen as applying pressure on the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden, who has called Kim a “thug” and has criticized his summits with President Donald Trump.

The Korean Central News Agency quoted Kim as saying the “key to establishing new relations between (North Korea) and the United States is whether the United States withdraws its hostile policy.”

Kim said he won’t use his nuclear weapons first unless threatened. He also suggested he is open to dialogue if Washington is too, but stressed North Korea must further strengthen its military and nuclear capability to cope with intensifying U.S. hostility.

He again called the U.S. his country’s “main enemy.”

“Whoever takes office in the U.S., its basic nature and hostile policy will never change,” he said.

Biden, who will take office on Jan. 20, is unlikely to hold direct meetings with Kim unless the North Korean leader takes significant denuclearization steps.

Cheong Seong-Chang, a fellow at the Wilson Center’s Asia Program, said Kim’s speech showed he has no interests in denuclearization talks with Biden if he insists that working-level negotiations must sort out contentious issues first.

Kim didn’t cite any specific provocative U.S. actions. North Korea has previously called regular U.S. military drills with South Korea an invasion rehearsal, though the allies have repeatedly denied that.

The North Korean leader listed sophisticated weapons systems that he said were under development. They include a multi-warhead missile, underwater-launched nuclear missiles, solid-fueled long-range missiles and spy satellites. He said North Korea must also advance the precision attack capability on targets in the 15,000 kilometer (9,320 mile)-striking range, an apparent reference to the U.S. mainland, and develop technology to manufacture smaller nuclear warheads to be mounted on long-range missiles more easily.

“The reality is that we can achieve peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula when we constantly build up our national defense and suppress U.S. military threats," Kim said.

It’s unclear if North Korea is capable of developing such systems. It’s one of the world’s most cloistered countries, and estimates on the exact status of its nuclear and missile programs vary widely. In 2018, the South Korean government said North Korea was estimated to have up to 60 nuclear weapons.

“What they want to tell the U.S. is we’re developing the new strategic weapons that you can see as the most intimidating. Do you want to come to the negotiating table?” Choi Kang, vice president of Seoul’s Asan Institute for Policy Studies, said.

KCNA said Kim’s comments were made during the ruling Workers’ Party congress, the first in five years, from Tuesday to Thursday. He spoke for nine hours, the agency said.

The congress, the party’s top decision-making body, is being held as Kim faces what appears to be the toughest moment of his nine-year rule due to blows to his already-fragile economy — pandemic-related border closings that have sharply reduced the North’s external trade, a spate of natural disasters last summer and U.S.-led sanctions.

During his opening-day speech, Kim called the difficulties the “worst-ever” and admitted his previous economic plans had failed. In his other comments reported Saturday, he called for building a stronger self-supporting economy and reducing reliance on imports under a new five-year development plan.

Since taking power in late 2011, Kim, who turned 37 on Friday, has pushed the so-called “byungjin” policy of simultaneously seeking economic growth and the expansion of his nuclear deterrent. After claiming to have achieved the ability to strike the U.S. mainland with nuclear weapons, Kim launched high-stakes summits Trump in 2018, but their diplomacy later fell apart due to wrangling over the sanctions the following year.

During this week’s speeches, Kim said North Korea will further boost ties with China, its biggest ally and economic lifeline but slammed South Korea for continuing the drills with the U.S. and introducing modern weapons.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry responded that it hopes for the early resumption of North Korea-U.S. talks, saying the inauguration of a new president in Washington can serve as a good chance to improve their ties.

“Kim’s speech foreshows the North Korean-U.S. relations won’t be smooth in the next four years with Biden in office,” said Nam Sung-wook, an expert on North Korea at Korea University in South Korea. “We won’t likely see big events and spectacles (like the Kim-Trump summits) for the time being.”

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
N. Korea threatens to build more nukes, cites US hostility
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has threatened to expand his nuclear arsenal and develop more sophisticated weapons systems in response to what he calls hostile American policy
7:22PM ( 7 minutes ago )
State capitols reassess safety after violence at US Capitol
Some governors and state lawmakers are reassessing security at state capitols across the country after the violence that occurred this week at the U.S. Capitol
7:17PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Democrats plan lightning Trump impeachment, want him out now
Democrats in Congress are swiftly laying plans to impeach President Donald Trump and ensure an “unhinged” commander-in-chief can do no further damage in his remaining days in office
7:16PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Twitter bans Trump, citing risk of incitement
Twitter says it is banning President Donald Trump from its platform, citing “risk of further incitement of violence.”
6:32PM ( 57 minutes ago )
State lawmaker charged after entering Capitol with rioters
The U.S. Justice Department says it has charged a Republican West Virginia state lawmaker with entering a restricted area of the U.S. Capitol after he livestreamed himself with rioters
6:31PM ( 59 minutes ago )
Deadly siege focuses attention on Capitol Police
Images of Wednesday's riot at the Capitol show police completely overwhelmed by protesters who shoved, kicked and punched their way into the building
6:14PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Pelosi's talk of limits on Trump nuke power raises old worry
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's concern about constraining President Donald Trump's ability to launch a nuclear attack in his final days in office highlights a longstanding question: should any president have the sole authority to start a nuclear war
5:23PM ( 2 hours ago )
Stock market shakes off a slump to reach more record highs
Stocks shook off a midday slump and powered higher in the afternoon, bringing major indexes to record highs and leaving the market with solid gains for the first week of the year
5:15PM ( 2 hours ago )
Rejecting criticism, Pompeo says US isn't 'banana republic'
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has met with his designated successor as America's top diplomat and is rejecting suggestions that the United States is a “banana republic."
5:07PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
The Latest: Oregon stepping up vaccinations
Oregon will be stepping up its vaccinations against COVID-19, including by administering thousands of doses at the state fairgrounds in Salem this weekend with the support of the National Guard, Gov. Kate Brown said Friday
5:08PM ( 2 hours ago )
Study suggests Pfizer vaccine works against virus variant
New research suggests the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech can still work against a mutated coronavirus
4:12PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: NYC mayor awaits state OK for shots to elderly
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is criticizing the state government for keeping the city from immediately vaccinating people older than 75 against the coronavirus
3:14PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP World News
Michael Apted, director of ‘Up’ documentary series, dies
Acclaimed British director Michael Apted has died
5:50PM ( 1 hour ago )
LA, Congress take divergent paths after COVID test warning
The city of Los Angeles has said it will keep using a coronavirus test that federal regulators warned may produce false results while Congress, which has used the same test, is seeking an alternative
4:59PM ( 2 hours ago )
US consumer credit up 4.4% in November, best in 5 months
U.S. consumer borrowing rose 4.4% in November, its strongest showing in five months
4:55PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
Boston mayor, RI governor among Biden adds to economic team
President-elect Joe Biden has introduced the governor of Rhode Island, the mayor of Boston and a small-business advocate from California as the newest members of his economic team
2:44PM ( 4 hours ago )
The Latest: Biden considered Sen. Sanders as labor secretary
President-elect Joe Biden says he gave “serious consideration” to nominating Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders as labor secretary, but both he and the senator agreed the appointment would put Democratic control of the U.S. Senate at risk
2:33PM ( 4 hours ago )
Fed transcripts show doubts about need for 2015 rate hike
Newly released transcripts show that many Federal Reserve officials had concerns in late 2015 over whether they were making a mistake in raising a key interest rate for the first time in nearly decade
12:31PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
State capitols reassess safety after violence at US Capitol
Some governors and state lawmakers are reassessing security at state capitols across the country after the violence that occurred this week at the U.S. Capitol
7:17PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Democrats plan lightning Trump impeachment, want him out now
Democrats in Congress are swiftly laying plans to impeach President Donald Trump and ensure an “unhinged” commander-in-chief can do no further damage in his remaining days in office
7:16PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Videos show fatal shooting during rampage at the Capitol
The Air Force veteran killed during the storming of the Capitol was shot as she began to climb through a broken part of a door leading into an area known as the Speaker’s Lobby, videos posted online show
7:10PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Trump to skip Biden swearing-in — Biden's fine with that
President Donald Trump says he won’t attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, and Biden says he's just fine with that, calling it “one of the few things we have ever agreed on."
6:53PM ( 36 minutes ago )
The Latest: Kansas prisons get vaccine priority in 2nd phase
Kansas state prisons, which have been hit hard by the pandemic, will be given priority in the next phase of vaccinations
6:51PM ( 38 minutes ago )