North Korea has declared it will strengthen the country's nuclear arsenal in tandem with developing its economy. The announcement came at the first communist Workers' Party congress held in nearly 40 years.
North Korea said Monday it would further strengthen self-defensive nuclear weapons capability "in quality and quantity" in a decision adopted at a rare party congress, its KCNA news agency reported.
The congress, which opened on Friday, has largely been seen as an elaborate coronation for Kim Jong-Un, securing his status as supreme leader and confirming his legacy "byungjin" doctrine of twin economic and nuclear development.
"We will consistently take hold on the strategic line of simultaneously pushing forward the economic construction and the building of nuclear force and boost self-defensive nuclear force both in quality and quantity as long as the imperialists persist in their nuclear threat and arbitrary practices," Kim said at the conference.
Delegates at the conference also enshrined apolicy of not using nuclear weapons unless its sovereignty is threatened by another nuclear power, and of working towards the eventual reunification of the divided Korean peninsula.
"But if the south Korean authorities opt for a war... we will turn out in the just war to mercilessly wipe out the anti-reunification forces," said the document published by the state-run KCNA news agency.
A coronation of sorts
Portraits of former leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il decorate the venue of Workers' Party of Korea congress in Pyongyang, North Korea
The 33-year-old leader was not even born when the last congress was held in 1980 to affirm his father, Kim Jong-Il, as the heir apparent to founding leader Kim Il-Sung.
The nuclear aspect of the twin doctrine had dominated the run-up to the party congress, starting with a fourth nuclear test in January that was followed by a long-range rocket launch and a flurry of other missile and weapons tests.
Kim urged all the delegates to press ahead with the byungjin policy.
"This strategic line is the most revolutionary and scientific one reflecting the lawful requirements of building a thriving socialist nation and the specific conditions of our country," he said.
North Korea came under the latest United Nations sanctions in March but it has defied international pressure with more activity in its nuclear and missile programs.
jar/bw (AFP, Reuters)