NK holds performance to celebrate party congress, no mention of military parade

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and newly elected members of the ruling Workers Party of Korea's central leadership body visit the the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang on Tuesday. | KCNA  KNS  VIA AFP-JIJI

Kim also said that North Korea had developed plans to build a nuclear submarine - an evolution that would strategically change the data on the problem.

The curtains came down on North Korea's eighth Workers' Party Congress Tuesdaywith Kim Jong-un renewing calls to boost the regime's nuclear capabilities.

Kim is looking to grab the attention of the incoming Biden administration, analysts say, with his country more isolated than ever after closing its borders to protect itself against the coronavirus pandemic.

The North Korean leader held three meetings with US President Donald Trump, but denuclearization talks have made little progress since their no-deal summit in Hanoi in February 2019.

The North Korean leader declared the USA the "biggest main enemy" and said he would do "everything" to advance Pyongyang's nuclear and military capabilities, laying out a renewed diplomatic challenge to the incoming Biden administration.

The United States, he said, is "the fundamental obstacle to the development of our revolution and our main enemy".

Kim was quoted by state media as saying, "The true nature of the U.S. and its policy toward North Korea never changes".

Those two years saw the North conduct an unprecedented number of missile and atomic tests that culminated in the November 2017 declaration by Kim that his country had perfected its "state nuclear force" after a successful launch of a long-range missile that analysts say is capable of striking much, if not all of, the continental United States.

The North's weapons programmes have made rapid progress under Kim, including by far its most powerful nuclear blast to date and missiles capable of reaching the entire continental United States, at a cost of increasingly stringent global sanctions.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a speech to conclude a rare ruling party congress in Pyongyang on Tuesday. | KCNA  KNS  VIA AFP-JIJI
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a speech to conclude a rare ruling party congress in Pyongyang on Tuesday. | KCNA KNS VIA AFP-JIJI

MM. Kim and Trump had a tumultuous relationship, sparked by exchanges of insults and mutual threats of all-out war before culminating in a dramatic diplomatic rapprochement and a world-wide summit in June 2018 in Singapore.

During the congress, Mr. Kim made the observation of the failure of the economic policy carried out recently in North Korea, declaring that "almost all sectors" had not reached their objectives.

Kim's unanimous election as general secretary was met with "thunderous applause" and "chants of "hurray" according to the official Korea Central News Agency KCNA.

Among the notable personnel changes announced at the meeting on Monday was the name of Kim Jong Un's sister.

The South Korean military said in a statement Monday that it had observed signs the North had conducted a nighttime military parade Sunday to mark the congress.

Kim Yo Jong had appeared to suffer a demotion at the party congress, not appearing on the lists of those appointed to the party central committee, after previously being an alternate member.

But the publication of a statement on her behalf, relayed by KCNA, indicates that she remains a key actor in North Korean diplomacy.

Kim said his goal in negotiating with Washington was a "withdrawal of its hostile policy", including an end to sanctions and to joint military exercises with South Korea, as well as other alliance activities around the Korean Peninsula.

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