North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends the 5th Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) in this undated photo released on December 31, 2019 by North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA via REUTERS
SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday said his country will continue developing nuclear programmes and introduce a “new strategic weapon” in the near future, state media KCNA said, after the United States missed a year-end deadline for a restart of denuclearization talks.
Kim convened a rare four-day meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party’s policy-making committee since Saturday as the United States had not responded to his repeated calls for concessions to reopen negotiations, dismissing the deadline as artificial.
Kim had warned he might have to seek a “new path” if Washington fails to meet his expectations. U.S. military commanders said Pyongyang’s actions could include the testing of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which it has halted since 2017, alongside nuclear warhead tests.
There were no grounds for North Korea to be bound any longer by the self-declared nuclear and ICBM test moratorium as the United States continued joint military drills with South Korea, adopted cutting-edge weapons and imposed sanctions while making “gangster-like demands”, Kim said, according to KCNA.
He pledged to further develop North Korea’s nuclear deterrent but left the door open for dialogue, saying the “scope and depth” of that deterrent will be “properly coordinated depending on” the attitude of the United States.
“The world will witness a new strategic weapon to be possessed by the DPRK in the near future,” Kim said, using the acronym for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“We will reliably put on constant alert the powerful nuclear deterrent capable of containing the nuclear threats from the U.S. and guaranteeing our long-term security.”
Reporting by Hyonhee Shin and Jack Kim; Editing by Leslie Adler and Grant McCool