PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country will not use its nuclear weapons unless its sovereignty is invaded and announced a five-year economic plan at a milestone congress of North Korea’s ruling party, which entered its third day Sunday.
Kim said he is ready to improve ties with “hostile” nations, and called for more talks with rival South Korea to reduce misunderstanding and distrust. He also urged the United States to stay away from inter-Korean issues.
“Our republic is a responsible nuclear state that, as we made clear before, will not use nuclear weapons first unless aggressive hostile forces use nuclear weapons to invade on our sovereignty,” Kim said in a roughly three-hour speech shown Sunday on the North’s Korean Central Television. Kim is believed to have delivered the speech at Pyongyang’s April 25 House of Culture the day before, but its content wasn’t made public until early Sunday.
At the congress, Kim also announced a five-year plan starting this year to develop the North’s moribund economy, and identified improving the country’s power supply and increasing its agricultural and light-manufacturing production as critical parts of the program. He also said the country must secure more electricity through nuclear power.
It was first time North Korea has announced a five-year plan since the 1980s and detailing it in such a public way demonstrated that Kim is taking ownership of the country’s economic problems, something his father, Kim Jong Il, avoided as leader.