Spy Agency: Kim Jong Un Is Worried About Biden

North Korean leader stressed the need to drastically improve foreign relations
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 8, 2021 4:22 AM CST
Kim Vows to Improve Ties With Outside World
In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, attends a ruling party congress in Pyongyang, North Korea Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021.   (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stressed the need to drastically improve his nation’s ties with the outside world as he addressed a major political conference for the third day. State media said Kim also reviewed relations with rival South Korea but didn’t explain what steps he said he wanted to take. Observers have expected Kim to use the first congress of the ruling Workers’ Party in five years to send conciliatory gestures toward Seoul and Washington as he faces deepening economic troubles at home, the AP reports. In his speech on the third day of the meeting Thursday, Kim "declared the general orientation and the policy stand of our party for comprehensively expanding and developing the external relations," the Korean Central News Agency said Friday.

During Thursday’s session, Kim also called for "thoroughly eliminating non-socialist elements" in North Korean society, KCNA said. In his opening-day speech, Kim admitted his previous economic plans had failed and vowed to adopt a new five-year development plan. On the second day of the meeting, he said he would bolster his country’s military capability. Kim, who inherited power upon his father Kim Jong Il’s death in late 2011, turned 37 on Friday. South Korea’s spy agency said Kim is worrying about President-elect Joe Biden, who will take office on Jan. 20. Biden has called Kim a "thug" and is unlikely to hold any direct meetings with him unless North Korea takes serious steps toward denuclearization.

(Read more North Korea stories.)

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