As geopolitical tensions continue to escalate in the Korean peninsula, North Korea’s first ruling party congress formally adopted the policy of developing the country’s nuclear arsenal, state media reported on May 9.
The congress, which opened on May 6, has largely been viewed as the coronation for 33-year-old Kim Jong-Un. This would secure his status as the supreme leader and confirm his legacy “byungjin” doctrine of twin economic and nuclear development. On May 8, thousands of delegates adopted a decision to push economic construction forward and “boost self-defensive nuclear force both in quality and quantity”.
The gathering also appropriated a policy by which North Korea would not use nuclear weapons unless its sovereignty is threatened by another nuclear power. They also agreed to work towards the eventual reunification of the divided Korean peninsula. “But if South Korean authorities opt for a war … we will turn out in the just war to mercilessly wipe out the anti-reunification forces”, said a document published by the Korean Central News Agency.
Stressing on the long-held argument by North Korea that its push for a nuclear deterrent was forced on it by US hostility, the Congress said that the nuclear weapons programme would move forward “as long as the imperialists persist in their nuclear threat”.
After the death of Kim Jong-Il in December 2011, Mr Kim quickly cemented his power base and secured his legitimacy as the inheritor of Kim family’s ruling dynasty. One of his earliest moves was to adjust his father’s “songun”, or military first policy, to the “byungjin” policy of economic-nuclear development. Mr Kim also unveiled a five-year economic plan at the Congress.
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