Days before President Donald Trump’s term of office ended, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un called the United States his country’s “archenemy” while threatening to expand its nuclear arsenal, state media reported on Saturday.
“Our foreign policy activities must focus on our archenemy and the fundamental obstacle to our revolutionary development, the United States,” Kim told the 8th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea, the Korean State Central News Agency reported.
“Efforts will be focused on overpowering them and bringing them to their knees,” he added.
Kim was once courted by Trump, who in 2018 contemplated the couple “falling in love” after exchanging letters.
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Trump’s comments came after the couple held a historic summit in Singapore in June this year to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. A second summit in Hanoi, Vietnam ended early when the two men failed to reach an agreement.
Any warmth between the leaders seemed to have subsided on Saturday when Kim also posted a list of high-tech weapons systems in development, despite insisting that his country was a “responsible nuclear state” and would not abuse its weapons if it did it wouldn’t be threatened first.
In an overt attempt to put pressure on President-elect Joe Biden’s new administration, Kim said, “Whoever takes office in the United States, their fundamental nature and hostile policies will never change.”
Relations between North Korea and the US would depend on “the US pulling back on hostile policies,” he added.
Biden, who will take office on January 20, previously described Kim as a “thug” and criticized his summit meetings with President Trump. He is unlikely to hold direct meetings with Kim unless the North Korean leader takes significant steps towards denuclearization.
The sophisticated weapon systems that Kim identified as being under development included multi-warhead missiles, underwater nuclear missiles, and spy satellites.
It is unclear whether the mysterious communist state is able to develop such systems. Information about one of the most monastery-based countries in the world is scarce, and estimates of the exact status of its nuclear and missile programs vary widely.
In 2018, the South Korean government announced that North Korea is estimated to have up to 60 nuclear weapons.
Kim spoke for nine hours during the ruling Labor Party Congress, the first in five years, KCNA reported.
Congress is the party’s top decision-making body and is amid a number of challenges for the country, including a fragile economy, the coronavirus pandemic, and US-led sanctions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.