At a rare party congress on Tuesday, the first in five years, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un vowed to strengthen his country's military capabilities to protect its people amid an impasse in its nuclear negotiations with the US, reported Yonhap.
Korean Central News Agency (KCNA/State Media) reported that Kim Jong-un "clarified an important will to reliably protect the security of the country and people and the peaceful environment of the socialist construction by placing the state defense capabilities on a much higher level."
This was the second-day session of the eighth congress of the ruling Workers' Party on Wednesday. The session has drawn keen attention from the outside world to gauge Pyongyang's new foreign policy line ahead of US President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20 as it has stayed mum on Biden's victory as of now.
After the stalled denuclearization talks with the Trump administration and little progress since the no-deal summit in Hanoi in 2019, Kim avoided provocative words as nuclear weapons development and war deterrent at Wednesday's session.
However, he did not rule out the possibility that the nuclear issue could be dealt with in the following sessions.
The session was called in the backdrop of continuing calamity, back-to-back typhoons in the summer, a protracted border closure due to the coronavirus pandemic and global sanctions on its economy.
At the opening session, Kim admitted a failure to meet the country's previous development goals and emphasized self-reliance in overcoming multitudes of challenges facing his country, reported Yonhap.
Further, KCNA stated that the third-day session of the congress will be held on Thursday. However, it is not clear how many days the congress will be held as Pyongyang has not made public the exact schedule.
The previous congress held in 2016 after a gap of 30 years earmarked North Korea's five-year development plan that ended last year and declared the "byongjin" policy of simultaneously seeking nuclear weapons and economic advance. It was held for four days.