Jan 9, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Kim Jong-un calls U.S. "our biggest enemy"

Picture of Kim Jong-un speaking behind a podium

Photo: API/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Friday called the United States his country's "biggest enemy" and pushed to continue expanding North Korea's arsenal, according to text of his remarks at the Workers' Party Congress meeting published by state media.

Why it matters: Kim's comments come days before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

  • "...Biden has promised 'principled diplomacy' with North Korea, implying a break with President Donald Trump's high-stakes summits with Kim Jong-un," NPR writes.
  • Kim said he did not intend to use nuclear weapons unless "hostile forces" planned to attack his country, per Al Jazeera. He did note that North Korea should expand its nuclear arsenal and improve its long-range missile capabilities, and called his country a “responsible nuclear weapons owner.”

The big picture: Kim mentioned the only way the U.S. and North Korea could reach peaceful relations would be if the U.S. withdrew its North Korea hostile policy.

What he's saying: "Our foreign political activities ought to be focused and directed on subduing and defeating the United States, our biggest enemy, and the main obstacle to our revolutionary developments," Kim said.

  • "No matter who is in power in the U.S., the true nature of the U.S. and its fundamental policies towards North Korea never change," he continued.
  • "The reality is that we need to tirelessly strengthen our national defense capabilities in order to deter military threats from the U.S. and achieve peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula."
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