To address his deteriorating relations with Washington and Seoul over the expansion of his nuclear and missile programs, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un asked for an important political summit to be held before the year is out.
State-run media in North Korea reported on Thursday that Kim presided over a meeting of the Workers’ Party’s Politburo, where participants discussed how state policies would be implemented in 2022 and decided to hold a more significant plenary session of the party’s Central Committee at an unspecified time in late December.
In recent years, Kim has utilized political conferences in late December or early January to assess national affairs and outline his top priorities for economic development, foreign policy, and the development of new weapons.
Those meetings might be taking the place of Kim’s annual New Year’s Day addresses, which he hasn’t given since 2020 despite utilizing them for years to make significant announcements.
Kim insisted that the nation this year overcame “unprecedented adversity” in internal and external circumstances to achieve progress in national development and elevate the country’s “prestige and honor” during the meeting on Wednesday in the capital, Pyongyang, according to the Korean Central News Agency.
By taking advantage of a rift in the UN Security Council exacerbated by Russia’s war on Ukraine to accelerate weapon development and increase pressure on Washington and Seoul, North Korea has increased missile testing at a record rate this year.
However, Kim has also been working to fix a chaotic and severely sanctioned economy that has recently been made worse by epidemic border closures.
He may also address this issue during the year-end conference.
The specifics of what will be discussed in the party plenary were not included in the state media accounts of Kim’s remarks during the Politburo meeting on Wednesday.
Additionally, they made no disparaging statements about Washington or Seoul.
According to KCNA, Kim cited 2023 as a pivotal year for achieving the objectives outlined in a five-year plan adopted at the ruling party conference in January 2021, where he pledged to overhaul the economy and strengthen the nuclear deterrent in the face of U.S.-led sanctions and pressure.
Kim made an extensive wish list of high-tech weapons during that congress, including more powerful intercontinental ballistic missiles, hypersonic weapons, nuclear-powered submarines, surveillance satellites, and tactical nuclear weapons.
Kim stated that 2023 should be set aside as a “decisive guarantee for the fulfillment of the five-year plan,” according to KCNA, noting that it will mark the 70th anniversary of the conclusion of the 1950–53 Korean War as well as the 75th anniversary of the creation of North Korea.