North Korean leader Kim Jong-un celebrated his birthday with a long wish-list of new weapons.
People watch a television screen showing news footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attending the 8th congress of the ruling Workers’ Party held in Pyongyang, at a railway station in Seoul on January 6, 2021.
It included more accurate long-range missiles, super large warheads, spy satellites and a nuclear-powered submarine.
The military plans announced during one of the biggest political events in North Korea in the last five years may sound threatening – and it is indeed a threat.
But it’s also a challenge. The timing of this message is key as it comes as US President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office.
Kim, who has also now been promoted to Secretary General (the highest rank of the ruling Worker’s Party), is struggling to be heard outside his own country amidst the current tumult in the US.
But if the incoming US administration harbours any hopes of preventing Kim’s nuclear ambitions, now might be the time to listen.
“Kim’s announcements no doubt are meant to emphasise to the incoming US administration that a failure to take quick action will result in North Korea qualitatively advancing its capabilities in ways deleterious to US and South Korean interests,” said Ankit Panda, author of Kim Jong-un and the Bomb, adding that Biden’s administration should take this seriously.