The defense ministry of South Korea said on Wednesday that the country will bolster its defense capabilities to cope with its Northern neighbor’s short-range missile threats, as Pyongyang pledged to step up its nuclear arsenal amid stalled talks with the United States.
In concluding the eight-day Workers’ Party congress, North Korea leader Kim Jong-un vowed to strengthen his country’s “nuclear war deterrent” and establish “the most powerful military strength.”
Defense ministry spokesperson Boo Seung-chan, solicited with his statement on the North’s threats, said that the country the South is preparing an analysis on the North’s military establishment intentions introduced at the congress.
“Through the modernization of forces, our military has the capabilities to counter North Korea’s short-range missiles, and will further boost them down the road,” Boo said in a regular press briefing.
On the historical party congress, which took place for the first time in nearly five years, Kim called for steps to come up with “nuclear weapons small, lighter and tactical and steadily push ahead with the production of super large nuclear warhead.”
The North Korean leader also took pride in the country’s new nuclear-powered submarine underway and demanded a boost on its missile strike capabilities that could reach objects 15,000 kilometers range.
Citing the target distance, the North Korean leader seemed to relay the intentions of the North for its missile to reach the US mainland.
The plans of the North to boost its weaponry came after its leader and US President Donald Trump’s previous negotiations met a deadlock.
To recall, Kim has convened three times with Trump in a conference held in Hanoi, Vietnam last February 2019.
Since the shelving of its talk in 2019, the two countries have made little improvement on denuclearization negotiations.
After the congress, the North was expected to conduct a military parade. The state media, who in the past has aired the parade live or has prepared a pre-recorded clip for airing, has not yet made a statement whether the military parade took place.
Meanwhile, the leader’s influential sister Kim Yo-jong condemned the South Korean defense force for spying on Pyongyang, specifically on the military parade.
She tagged the South Korean intelligence personnel as “idiot” that leads “the world’s list of misbehavior.”
The leader’s sister was not listed as a member of the politburo in the recently concluded congress. She was not listed as an alternate member either, which triggered speculations on her alleged demotion from the party.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff of Seoul refused to give its remark on the younger Kim’s statement.
They also said they do not have further details regarding the expected military parade.