For South Korea, Kim wants more nuclear weapons but is ready for dialogue

A rare Workers' Party Congress ended this week. The North Korean leader calls for a “do-or-die struggle struggle” to save the country’s economy. COVID-19, typhoons and sanctions have made life increasingly difficult. South Korean officials believe that Pyongyang is waiting for the Biden administration to take over.

Seoul (AsiaNews) – North Korea wants to boost its nuclear arsenal, Kim Jong-un said on the last day of the eighth congress of the Workers' Party of Korea, which came to power after World War Two, state news agency KCNA reported today. The eight-day event ended yesterday.

In addition to increasing the country’s military capabilities, Kim called for a “do-or-die struggle” to fulfill the new five-year development plan.

At the start of the congress, the first in five years, he had admitted that the last plan proved a failure.

In his address, Pyongyang’s strongman announced a new strategy to lead the country out of its crisis, by innovating in sectors like construction, transport and communications, and promoting a new approach in foreign political and economic relations.

North Korea is isolated from the international community (except for China and to a lesser extent Russia), and has been under international sanctions for years over its nuclear and missile programmes.

Despite three summit meetings and apparent cordial relations with Donald Trump, nuclear talks with Washington have been stalled for some time. This has left North Korea in a very difficult situation.

The coronavirus pandemic and a series of summer typhoons have weakened an economy already ravaged by sanctions.

According to a senior official with South Korea’s Unification Ministry quoted by Yonhap, Kim's words are less bellicose than usual and leave “many possibilities open” for dialogue.

South Korea is convinced that before taking any action, North Korea wants to evaluate the first moves of the new US President Joe Biden.

In fact, South Koreans believe that since last June Kim has kept a low profile, avoiding problems with the United States and along the militarised border.