May 8, 2016
North Korea: Leader Kim Jong-Un Vows 'Nuclear Restraint' Unless Others Infringe Upon His Country

North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, vowed that his country would refrain from using nuclear weapons unless the isolated country is infringed upon by others with nuclear weapons.

In a speech made Saturday at a congress of the ruling Workers' Party and broadcast from Pyongyang on Sunday, Kim said North Korea "will faithfully fulfill its obligation for non-proliferation and strive for global denuclearization."

According to Al Jazeera, Kim said North Korea was also willing to improve ties with states that had been hostile towards it, including South Korea.

Similar statements are common from North Korea and are just as easily interchanged with statements threatening to attack the United States and South Korea.

Despite its vow to restrain from using nuclear weapons, North Korea has defied United Nations resolutions to pursue a nuclear arsenal.

Saturday's congress in North Korea, which began on Friday, is a rare occurrence. The last time the first party congress met was 36 years ago. According to Reuters, South Korean officials fear the gathering will enable the young leader, who gained power in 2011 after his father's unexpected death, to use the platform to consolidate power.

Kim Jong-un, 33, also unveiled a five-year economic plan that comes in light of increased U.N. sanctions that are placing the impoverished country in dire circumstances.

In a three-hour speech, the North Korean leader laid out his "Byongjin" policy to jointly push economic development as well as nuclear armament. He urged an emphasis on meeting the country's electricity demands by improving domestic sources of energy, including the use of nuclear power.

Kim's economic plan focuses on mechanizing agriculture and automating factories as well as higher coal output.

"[We must] solve the energy problem and place the basic industry section on the right track, and increase agricultural and light industry production to definitely improve lives of the people."

Kim's speech led delegates to rise collectively with applause and shouts of "manse," or "cheers for long life!"

Michael Madden, an expert on the North Korean leadership, told Reuters that the speech highlighted how different Kim Jong-un is from his late father, Kim Jong-il, in laying out an economic plan at all.

"In stark contrast to his father, he is publicly taking responsibility for the economy and development as the originator of the policy. His father never undertook that responsibility."

North Korea faces difficult times ahead. After defying Security Council resolutions by conducting a nuclear test and launching a long-range rocket, which put an object into space orbit, it came under tougher new U.N. sanctions in March.

Those sanctions did little to deter North Korea from continuing to further its nuclear and missile development. Most recently, the country claimed to have succeeded in miniaturizing a nuclear warhead and launching a submarine-based ballistic missile.

As a result of its nuclear successes, Kim said North Korea will remain responsible as a nuclear state.

"As a responsible nuclear weapons state, our Republic will not use a nuclear weapon unless its sovereignty is encroached upon by any aggressive hostile forces with nukes."

As he has done in the past with little follow through, Kim called for better ties with South Korea. The two countries are still technically at war since the 1950-53 conflict that ended in a truce and not a peace treaty.

South Korea and North Korea have remained at odds ever since, with the North maintaining that South Korea is not a legitimate country. In North Korean maps, the Korean peninsula is depicted as one country, with Pyongyang its capital.

[Photo by AP Images]