North Korea ends plenary meeting without mention of US, South Korea

Seoul, Jan 1 (EFE).- The Workers’ Party of Korea, the ruling and only political party in North Korea, has ended its plenary meeting without directly mentioning the United States or South Korea as expected, although it stressed the importance of boosting national defense due to the increasingly “instable” international situation, state media reported Saturday.

On Friday, the fifth and last day of the plenary meeting of the party’s Central Committee, the regime’s leader Kim Jong-un addressed a crowded arena, as photos shared by official newspaper Rodong Sinmun showed.

However, to the surprise of analysts, the daily did not directly reproduce Kim’s speech and published the resolution approved at the end of the meeting, the fourth of its kind to be held in 2021 after previous ones in January, February in June.

The meeting was called to outline the regime’s policies for 2022, and experts had expected a message aimed at Washington – which has offered to resume denuclearization talks – and South Korea, which has proposed to sign a declaration formally ending the Korean War (1950-53).

However, the party statement simply said that the regime had finalized a “tactical orientation,” “which should be maintained by the sectors of the North-South (inter-Korean) relations and external affairs to cope with the rapidly changing international political situation.”

Therefore, Pyongyang’s diplomatic trajectory for 2022, remains unclear, except a resolution to continue strengthening the country’s military capabilities.

“The military environment of the Korean Peninsula and the trend of the international situation getting instable day after day demand that bolstering the state defense capability be further powerfully propelled without a moment’s delay,” the party’s statement said.

The plenary emphasized the need to boost economic development, especially in the rural areas, apart from continuing the ongoing pandemic-related restrictions, including a complete sealing of the borders, which the party called a “top national priority.”

Kim referred to 2022 as “a great life-and-death struggle,” and KCNA reported.

The meeting came at a time when the country is experiencing hardships due to the weight of sanctions and the extreme isolation it has chosen to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, and after rejecting Washington’s offers to resume denuclearization talks. However it has left many questions unanswered about the regime’s foreign policy approach. EFE


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