On January 6th, the Workers’ Party held their 8th congress in North Korea. During this meeting, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un threatened to increase their nuclear weapons arsenal due to the perceived hostility from the United States. The new nuclear technologies include submarine nuclear weapons, and longer distanced missiles reaching up to 15,000km (which might be a reference to the United States’ mainland, because the U.S. is 10,000km away if measuring shore to shore).
Kim Jong Un was quoted during this congress, stating: “Nothing would be more foolish and dangerous than not strengthening our might tirelessly… when we see the enemy’s state of art weapons being increased more than ever.” He has declared that the United States is currently the biggest enemy of North Korea.
The tensions between the United States and North Korea stem from the Korean war in 1948, when the United States backed South Korea and the Soviet Union helped North Korea. In 1994 the United States and North Korea reached an agreement for the de-nuclearization of the state, however it was not put into action. The Six Party Talks began in 2003 between Russia, China, Japan, North and South Korea and the United States, with the intention of dismantling North Korea’s nuclear weapons collection. Unfortunately, the talks have stalled and the previous meetings have not stopped North Korea from continuing to conduct tests.
The North Korean leader has said that North Korea will not attack first, and that the nuclear weapons will only be used if enemy forces initiate hostile action. No specific hostile actions were mentioned during the meeting, however the U.S. trade sanctions which limit necessary imports such as oil, metal, and agriculture to North Korea have been interpreted as hostile.
The new threat of increased nuclear weapons has been interpreted by some media sources as North Korea increasing pressure on the President-elect, Joseph Biden. It is unlikely that diplomatic relations will improve between the two countries until North Korea decides to limit their nuclear testing and follow through with the de-nuclearization decisions of the Six-Party Talks.
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