Edited by Nelly Tawil
In a speech broadcast on Sunday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has announced his country would not use nuclear weapons unless its sovereignty is infringed by others with nuclear arms and set a five-year plan to boost the secretive state’s moribund economy.
The development follows a series of provocative weapons tests carried out by the country; Kim also vowed to push forward with nuclear development despite international pressure during his remarks at the Workers Party Conference.
After Kim’s announcement South Korea released a response saying the international community does not acknowledge the North as a nuclear nation and that it will not tolerate North Korea’s refusal to give up its nuclear weapons.
Kim was also quoted on Saturday through a speech only aired on Sunday on state television, saying “We will comply sincerely with our international commitment to nuclear nonproliferation and strive to achieve the denuclearization of the world.”
North Korea was also willing to normalize ties with states that had been hostile towards it, Kim continued. North Korean officials have made similar statement in the past, but have then continued to threaten attacks on the United States and South Korea.
A five-year plan for the economy was put forward, focusing primarily on the energy sector but “was short on detail.” However its existence serves to differentiate Kim from his father former leader Kim Jong Il.
Michael Madden a North Korean expert said “In stark contrast to his father, he is publicly taking responsibility for the economy and development as the originator of the policy. His father never undertook that responsibility.”