|North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaks during the second day of the eighth congress of the ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang, Jan. 6. Yonhap|
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reiterated that the United States is the "biggest enemy" of his country, threatening to continue to advance his regime's nuclear capabilities, the North's state media said Saturday.
Kim added that Washington's policy against Pyongyang won't change regardless of who is in the White House, saying that an end to its hostile stance will be the key to future relations between the two countries, according to the Korean Central News Agency.
He made the remarks while reporting to the eighth congress of the ruling Workers' Party currently under way in Pyongyang, his first response to Joe Biden's election as the new U.S. president in November. They also came days before Biden's inauguration slated for Jan. 20.
"The report said that the key to the establishment of new North Korea-U.S. relations is the withdrawal of the U.S.' hostile North Korea policy," KCNA said, declaring an "eye for an eye" principle will still be the rule regarding Washington.
"Our external political activities going forward should be focused on suppressing and subduing the U.S., the basic obstacle, biggest enemy against our revolutionary development," it added.
Kim has held three meetings with U.S. President Donald Trump, but denuclearization talks have made little progress since their no-deal summit in Hanoi, 2019.
Referring to the summits, Kim said the U.S. hostile policy has "worsened" despite the North's "efforts" and "maximum patience" to reduce tensions in the region.
|U.S. President-elect Joe Biden announces members of his economics and employment teams at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., Jan. 8. REUTERS-Yonhap|
Kim rolled out a series of goals to boost his country's military power, calling for improvements in missile strike capabilities targeting objects at a range of 15,000 kilometers, and the miniaturization of nuclear warheads, among others.
The North also said it has completed the design of a new nuclear submarine and it is in the final screening process.
"The reality shows that we need to strengthen the national defense capabilities without a moment of hesitation to deter the United States' nuclear threats and to bring peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula," the KCNA said.
"(Kim) called for an unrelenting pursuit of building nuclear power for the safety of our people, the fate of our revolution and the existence and self-reliant development of the country," it said.
On South Korea, Kim appeared to have left room for improvement in relations, saying these could return to the situation of three years ago when a peace mood was created "at any time," but emphasized that all this depends on the attitude of Seoul.
Inter-Korean relations have remained stalled since the Hanoi summit as sanctions stand in the way of cross-border exchanges and cooperation.
The ties chilled further last year, as North Korea blew up an inter-Korean joint liaison office in June, a violent protest against anti-Pyongyang leaflets being sent across the border, and killed a South Korean fisheries official drifting in the seas near its western maritime border in September.
Pyongyang has not responded to Seoul's offers for talks and cooperative projects, while focusing on warding off an outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic on its soil by sealing its border and toughening quarantine measures. (Yonhap)