Published: Thu, January 14, 2021

North Korea: Kim Yo Jong remains 'single person Kim Jong Un trusts'

North Korea: Kim Yo Jong remains 'single person Kim Jong Un trusts'

Kim Jong Un said the country needs to do everything in order to build the most powerful military.

His latest speech to wrap up the congress on Tuesday again noted the importance of nuclear weapons and a strong military in the face of what it calls a "hostile policy" by the U.S.

When unconfirmed global rumors about Kim Jong Un's health rose previous year, some observers said Kim Yo Jong was next in line to rule North Korea if her brother became incapacitated. One expert believes that Kim's comments were aimed at Seoul and Washington. Their diplomacy deteriorated after the collapse of their talks in Vietnam in February 2019, when the Americans rejected North Korea's demand for major sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities.

The news comes as a surprise because Kim Yoo Jong, who was accepted as a replacement for the Politburo a year ago, was expected to be confirmed as a full member during the Labor Party conference that ended on Tuesday.

The North had completed plans for a nuclear-powered submarine, he said - which would be a strategic game-changer - and offered a shopping list of weapons goals, including hypersonic gliding warheads, military reconnaissance satellites and solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The meetings did not, for example, fulfil Kim's wish that North Korea be recognised as a "nuclear state", end the war between the Koreas since the armistice of the Korea conflict in 1953, stop sanctions or realise Washington's demand that Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program be suspended.

"It is a message to the U.S. that it will continue to build up its strategic arsenal unless the U.S. changes its course on North Korea policy", he told AFP.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un celebrated his birthday with a long wish-list of new weapons.

North Korea has still not authorized access for foreign journalists to the congress and proceedings have been communicated through the release of video and still images on state media.

In a statement carried by KCNA, she derided the "idiot" authorities in Seoul after the South's joint chiefs of staff said it had detected signs of a possible military parade in Pyongyang at the weekend. "Why do they take trouble craning their neck to follow what's happening in the north", Kim reportedly said.

"Southerners are a really unusual and hard group to understand", Kim Yo-jong, a key advisor to Kim, said in a statement relayed by KCNA.

"We are only organizing a military parade in the capital, no military exercises targeting anyone or launching anything", she said, implicitly confirming the parade was being held. It was not clear what, if any, weaponry was displayed during the event.

Less than a week after wrapping up a rare congress of the ruling Workers' Party, North Korea is set to convene its rubber-stamp parliament to discuss what was put forth during the party congress.

Kim Yoo Jong remains a member of the Workers' Party Central Committee, another important body.

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"Kim Yo Jong can meet and talk to Kim Jong Un freely we can't help saying that she has a tremendous influence", Oh said.

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