N.Korea Pushes for Nuclear Development

      April 01, 2013 10:43

      The North Korean Workers Party on Sunday signed off on a "parallel strategy" of economic and nuclear development, the country's official KCNA news agency reported. 

      The declaration came a day after the North declared it was in a "state of war" with South Korea, warning Seoul and Washington that any provocation would escalate quickly into an all-out nuclear conflict.

      North Korea revised its constitution in April last year to set itself up explicitly as a nuclear-armed state.

      Leader Kim Jong-un said the international community is "threatening and intimidating" North Korea with claims that it cannot achieve economic development unless it abandons its nuclear weapons. He added Pyongyang therefore has "no choice" but to bolster its nuclear arsenal.

      Since the inauguration of President Park Geun-hye in February, South Korea has repeatedly called on the North to scrap its nuclear weapons program, warning that it risks further international isolation by pushing ahead with it.

      But KCNA claimed the new strategy allows North Korea to focus on economic development by "bolstering its defense capabilities without boosting military spending." It also referred to nuclear weapons as the "lifeline" of the North Korean people and a national "treasure."

      How nuclear arms development is supposed to overcome the North’s dire economic straits is unclear.

      The North first adopted a dual strategy of economic and defense development in 1962. At the time, nation founder Kim Il-sung felt threatened by the rise to power of Park Chung-hee, an army general, in South Korea. The North then focused all its resources into developing the military industry.

      A government official here said, "Forty-one years ago, his grandfather chose to pursue a parallel strategy of economic and military development and now his grandson [Kim Jong-un] has adopted the same mentality."

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