North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is not backing down in his ambition to make the secluded state a Nuclear powerhouse.
Pyongyang state media has reported that Kim on Saturday described his country’s nuclear weapons program as a “treasured sword” that will be used to protect it against outside aggression.
This comes as the United Nations, pressured by U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, have continued to pressure his regime to abandon their nuclear program.
Kim told the powerful Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party on Saturday that the nuclear weapons were a “powerful deterrent” guaranteeing the country’s sovereignty against “protracted nuclear threats of the U.S. imperialists.”
He, however, acknowledged that the standoff between his country and the U.S. led coalition over its nuclear weapons development was a “complicated international situation.”
He vowed to continue developing the country’s economy despite the stiffened United Nations sanctions which have curbed the country’s export income.
Kim said North Korea faces “ordeals” under a “stern” situation but claimed its economy has grown.
It is not clear if President Trump’s statement on Saturday that “only one thing will work” in dealing with North Korea after previous U.S. administrations had negotiated with Pyongyang without results, was what sparked Kim’s remarks about his nuclear weapons program to the committee.
Kim, however, also used that time to announce the promotion of his sister, Kim Yo Jong, as an alternate member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Worker’s Party, tightening his family’s firm grip on the government.
Little is known about Kim Yo Jong beyond her official ranks, like most of the Kim family.
She was born in 1987 and studied in Switzerland like her brother. It is believed that she attended Kim Il Sung University and a western European school for her higher education.
She has previously served as deputy director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Workers’ Party. She is a close aide of her brother who since his ascension to leadership, has managed his public events, itineraries and logistical needs, among other tasks.
Other reshuffles announced include the selection of North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho as a member of the Politburo and Choe Ryong Hae, vice chairman of the Worker’s Party and a close aide to Kim Jong Un, appointed to the party’s Central Military Commission.