Kim Jong Un says US is North Korea’s ‘biggest enemy’ regardless of who is in charge

Kim Jong Un vowed to expand North Korea’s nuclear arsenal during a key meeting of the ruling party this week, boasting that nuclear submarines, underwater missiles and warheads that could reach American cities were all under development, state media reported.

Speaking for nine hours at the five-yearly congress of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, over three days, the North Korean leader also described the United States as his country’s ‘biggest enemy’.

Kim’s comments were seen as applying pressure on the incoming Joe Biden administration, without referring to the President-elect by name.

The Korean Central News Agency quoted him as saying: ‘Our foreign political activities should be focused and redirected on subduing the US, our biggest enemy and main obstacle to our innovated development.’

The North Korean leader also said the ‘key to establishing new relations between (North Korea) and the United States is whether the United States withdraws its hostile policy.’

Kim Jong Un (pictured) has described the United States as his country's 'biggest enemy' while speaking at the five-yearly ruling Workers' Party of Korea

Kim Jong Un (pictured) has described the United States as his country's 'biggest enemy' while speaking at the five-yearly ruling Workers' Party of Korea

Kim Jong Un (pictured) has described the United States as his country’s ‘biggest enemy’ while speaking at the five-yearly ruling Workers’ Party of Korea

While addressing North Korea's ruling party, Kim also said that the US was 'our biggest enemy and main obstacle to our innovated development'

While addressing North Korea's ruling party, Kim also said that the US was 'our biggest enemy and main obstacle to our innovated development'

While addressing North Korea’s ruling party, Kim also said that the US was ‘our biggest enemy and main obstacle to our innovated development’

Kim said he wouldn’t use his nuclear weapons first unless threatened and that he is open to a dialogue with Washington but stressed his country must further strengthen its military and nuclear capability. 

He also said: ‘Whoever takes office in the U.S., its basic nature and hostile policy will never change.’

Cheong Seong-Chang, a fellow at the Wilson Centre’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. 

Although Kim didn’t name any specific US provocative actions, North Korea has previously called US military drills with South Korea as invasion rehearsals, though the allies have denied this.

During the speech, Kim named a number of weapons systems already under development, including multi-warhead missiles, underwater-launched nuclear missiles, solid-fuelled long-range missiles and spy satellites. 

Kim also named a number of weapons systems already under development, including multi-warhead missiles, underwater-launched nuclear missiles, solid-fuelled long-range missiles and spy satellites

Kim also named a number of weapons systems already under development, including multi-warhead missiles, underwater-launched nuclear missiles, solid-fuelled long-range missiles and spy satellites

Kim also named a number of weapons systems already under development, including multi-warhead missiles, underwater-launched nuclear missiles, solid-fuelled long-range missiles and spy satellites

Although Kim didn't name any specific US provocative actions, North Korea has previously called US military drills with South Korea as invasion rehearsals, though the allies have denied this. Pictured: File image of a military parade during a ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of the Workers' Party of Korea on October 10, 2020

Although Kim didn't name any specific US provocative actions, North Korea has previously called US military drills with South Korea as invasion rehearsals, though the allies have denied this. Pictured: File image of a military parade during a ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of the Workers' Party of Korea on October 10, 2020

Although Kim didn’t name any specific US provocative actions, North Korea has previously called US military drills with South Korea as invasion rehearsals, though the allies have denied this. Pictured: File image of a military parade during a ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of the Workers’ Party of Korea on October 10, 2020

The North Korean leader also said his country must advance their precision attack capabilities on targets in the 15,000Km striking range. 

‘The reality is that we can achieve peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula when we constantly build up our national defence 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. 

Choi Kang, vice president of Seoul’s Asan Institute for Policy Studies, said: ‘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?’

The North Korean leader also said his country must advance their precision attack capabilities on targets in the 15,000Km striking range. Pictured: File image of a North Korean Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missiles during a military parade marking the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Workers' Party of Korea on October 10, 2020

The North Korean leader also said his country must advance their precision attack capabilities on targets in the 15,000Km striking range. Pictured: File image of a North Korean Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missiles during a military parade marking the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Workers' Party of Korea on October 10, 2020

The North Korean leader also said his country must advance their precision attack capabilities on targets in the 15,000Km striking range. Pictured: File image of a North Korean Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missiles during a military parade marking the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea on October 10, 2020

In 2018, the South Korean government said North Korea was estimated to have up to 60 nuclear weapons. Pictured: File image of an underwater-launched missile being fired in North Korea on October 2, 2019

In 2018, the South Korean government said North Korea was estimated to have up to 60 nuclear weapons. Pictured: File image of an underwater-launched missile being fired in North Korea on October 2, 2019

In 2018, the South Korean government said North Korea was estimated to have up to 60 nuclear weapons. Pictured: File image of an underwater-launched missile being fired in North Korea on October 2, 2019

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. 

Nam Sung-wook, an expert on North Korea at Korea University in South Korea, said that Kim’s speech ‘foreshows the North Korean-U.S. relations won’t be smooth in the next four years with Biden in office.’ 

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