Will Kim Jong Un resume ICBM and nuclear tests? | Sunday Observer

Will Kim Jong Un resume ICBM and nuclear tests?

17 January, 2021

PYONGYANG, Jan. 16 (Aljazeera) - In one of North Korea’s biggest propaganda spectacles, thousands of delegates from the ruling Workers Party met for an eight-day Congress in Pyongyang that concluded this week.

At the cavernous April 25 House of Culture, they alternated between cheering wildly and scribbling furiously on their notepads as leader Kim Jong Un declared the United States to be his country’s “principal enemy” and pledged to expand a nuclear and missiles programme that has advanced at breakneck speed – despite international sanctions – during his nine-year rule.

The weapons in development, Kim said, included a “multi-warhead rocket”, solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), “supersonic gliding flight warheads” and even a nuclear-powered submarine.

The goal, according to the North Korean leader, was to attain the capability “for making a preemptive and retaliatory nuclear strike” that can “annihilate” any targets within 15,000 km – a range that puts the US itself well within reach.

“Our foreign political activities should be focused and redirected on subduing the US, our principal enemy and main obstacle to our innovated development,” Kim told the Congress. While he did not rule out diplomacy, “the reality is that we can achieve peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula when we constantly build up our national defence and suppress US military threats,” he said.

Kim’s weapons pledge, described by Lee Sung-yoon, professor of Korean Studies at the US-based Tufts University, as his “most detailed and provocative statement” on nuclear policy, comes just months after the North Korean military showed off a new weapon – an ICBM that can be transported by road and that analysts say could be one of the world’s largest if it becomes operational.

Lee said Kim’s threat indicated a “high possibility” that Kim may turn to “missile and nuclear provoca