Kim Jong-un vows to expand North Korea's nuclear arsenal if US 'remains hostile'

9 January 2021, 07:31 | Updated: 9 January 2021, 07:38

Kim Jong-un has threatened to expand North Korea's nuclear arsenal
Kim Jong-un has threatened to expand North Korea's nuclear arsenal. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Kim Jong-un has vowed to expand North Korea's nuclear arsenal unless the United States "withdraws its hostile policy".

The North Korean leader said he will develop more sophisticated atomic weapons systems to combat "hostile forces" that threaten the rogue Asian state.

His promise came during a rare key ruling party meeting and is seen as an attempt to put pressure on president-elect Joe Biden who will enter the White House later this month.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that the Supreme Leader said the "key to establishing new relations between (North Korea) and the United States is whether the US withdraws its hostile policy" against Pyongyang.

Mr Kim added that the US is his country's "biggest enemy" and that he is not expecting a change in tack from Mr Biden or any future US president.

He said he will not use his nuclear arsenal unless another nation shows an intention to use their weapons against the North Korea first.

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The country will also expand its military potential due to the "danger" of a US invasion increasing.

Mr Kim also ordered officials to develop weapons with multiple warheads, nuclear-powered submarines, spy satellites and underwater-launched nuclear missiles.

His comments came during a congress of his ruling Workers' Party, the first in five years, which was meeting for the fourth consecutive day.

The Supreme Leader has enjoyed a warmer relationship with outgoing President Donald Trump than other US leaders.

Meanwhile, he has continued to build his nuclear arsenal despite being subject to strict international economic sanctions.

Earlier this week, the dictator conceded that his five-year plan for Pyongyang's economy failed to meet its targets "in almost every sector".