North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during a plenary meeting of the Workers' Party central committee in Pyongyang, North Korea in this photo supplied by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on February 9, 2021. KCNA via REUTERS

Reuters

North Korea's Kim lays out paths to take with South Korea, external affairs

By Sangmi Cha, Reuters | Updated - Feb. 9, 2021 at 4:22 p.m. | Posted - Feb. 9, 2021 at 4:12 p.m.


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SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the paths for his ruling Workers' Party to take with South Korea and external affairs, state media KCNA said on Wednesday.

Kim called last month for more advanced nuclear weapons and said the United States was "our biggest enemy," presenting a stark challenge to U.S. President Joe Biden just days before he took office.

Kim, who cemented his power at January's party congress with his election as general secretary, further discussed Pyongyang's five-year policy plan on the second day of the plenary meeting on Tuesday.

"The General Secretary in the report evinced the militant tasks to be carried out by the People's Army and the munitions industry this year," KCNA reported, "and the direction of future action to be taken by the sector in charge of affairs with South Korea and the sector in charge of external affairs, before underscoring the need to thoroughly carry them out without fail."

While raising the issue of reshaping relations with South Korea "as required by the prevailing situation and the changed times", Kim has criticised Seoul for offering cooperation in "non-fundamental" areas such as COVID-19 aid and tourism and said it should stop buying arms from and conducting military drills with the United States.

South Korea's new foreign minister said on Tuesday he was confident about coordinating North Korea policy with the United States despite earlier signs of differences.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said last month that Biden should hold talks with North Korea to build on progress that former President Donald Trump made with Kim.

Kim's unprecedented personal meetings with Trump failed to lead to a breakthrough in denuclearisation talks or a loosening of sanctions.

KCNA did not provide further details of the meeting, but said the meeting would continue at least until a third day.

(Reporting by Sangmi Cha; Editing by Peter Cooney)

© Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021

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Sangmi Cha

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