At a key ruling party meeting, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to strengthen the military capabilities of his nuclear-armed nation, the state media reported on Thursday. This happens at a time when only two weeks is left for Joe Biden to be officially sworn in as the President of the US.

Kim pledged to place “the state defence capabilities on a much higher level, and put forth goals for realising it”, in his work report to the Workers’ Party congress, the official Korean Central News Agency said.

Following threats and war of words between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong, a diplomatic bromance was witnessed between them. Their diplomatic relationship made headlines after declarations of love by Trump.

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However, since the summit in Hanoi broke down in February 2019 over sanction relief and what Pyongyang would be willing to give up in return, talks between the two countries have been stalled.

According to analysts, North Korea is using the scope of its five-yearly congress to send Joe Biden’s new administration a message carefully. In his presidential election, Joe Biden had called Kim Jong a ‘thug’ and the latter’s country called him a ‘rabid dog’.

Korean Central News Agency(KCNA) did not clearly indicate anything about nuclear weapons in its report. It did not even specify Kim’s goals. However, Ahn Chan-il, defector-turned-researcher of the World Institute for North Korea Studies in Seoul told AFP that “It basically means the North will strengthen its nuclear capabilities.”

“Kim does not want to say the word ‘nuclear’ as Biden takes office later this month, and he knows the incoming president’s stance on Pyongyang is uncompromising compared to his predecessor,” he added.

“Kim probably does not want to provoke him at this stage. But the North would never give up its nuclear weapons, that’s very clear.”

The US is expected to insist on extensive progress at working-level talks before any leaders’ summit can be considered.

North Korea has been pouring resources over developing its nuclear strength for years now – even at the cost of diplomatic isolation and international sanctions. According to the country, it needs nuclear weapons to protect itself against any possible threats of US invasion.

The rate of development in the nuclear capabilities of the country has accelerated under Kim. It has also made its most powerful nuclear test and missiles capable of reaching the whole of the US.

In October, at a military parade, the country showed off a huge new missile that according to analysts was the largest road-mobile, liquid-fuelled missile anywhere in the world. It was designed to carry out multiple warheads in independent re-entry vehicles (MIRVs)

Analysts said this showed us that the North had continued to develop its arsenal throughout the diplomatic process, giving Pyongyang greater heft to demand a return to the negotiating table.

The five-yearly congress meets are the top meetings of the ruling party. The meet is closely followed by analysts for any change in policies. The meet reinforces the regime’s authority.

According to reports that cited satellite imagery, there is a possibility that Pyongyang is planning a parade ‘with military elements’ to mark the congress meet.

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On the first day of the meet, Kim had admitted to the failure of many policies as ‘almost all sectors’ had failed to reach the economic target. A decision was made to comprehensively analyse “the experiences, lessons, and mistakes we have made during the period under review”.

The coronavirus pandemic made situations worse for North Korea which decided to close its borders last January to avoid the spread of the virus that had emerged in their neighbour and ally-country China. Their blockade policy was more effective than the most aggressive sanctions.

Pyongyang claims that it has not had a single case of coronavirus, though many believe that is not true. However, its trade with China has suffered a lot.