North Korea welcomes nuke prowess at historic Congress

RSTV Bureau
In this October 10, 2015, file photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un salutes at a parade in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea on Friday, May 6, 2016, opened the first full congress of its ruling party since 1980, a major political event intended to showcase the country's stability and unity under leader Kim Jong Un despite international criticism and tough new sanctions over the North's recent nuclear test and a slew of missile launches. AP/PTI

In this October 10, 2015, file photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un salutes at a parade in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea on Friday, May 6, 2016, opened the first full congress of its ruling party since 1980, a major political event intended to showcase the country’s stability and unity under leader Kim Jong Un despite international criticism and tough new sanctions over the North’s recent nuclear test and a slew of missile launches. AP/PTI

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un hailed the country’s prowess in nuclear tests at the historic first ruling party Congress in more than 40 years.

A defiant Kim Jong-Un, hailed the ‘magnificent’ strides made during the historic test held in January this year, the one which Pyongyang claims was a hydrogen bomb test.

He praised the country’s scientists for “creating milestone miracles with the magnificent and exhilarating sound of the first H-bomb of our republic”.

Thousands of party delegates had gathered in Pyongyang for the once-in-a-generation conclave where Kim delivered a speech.

The leader announced that North Korea had shown the world it would not be cowed by sanctions or outside pressure.

The test and successful long-range rocket launch a month later “clearly demonstrated to the whole world our undefeatable spirit and endless power … in defiance of malicious pressure and sanctions by enemy forces”, he announced.

Experts have questioned the North’s H-bomb claim, saying the detected yield from the January test was far too low for a full-fledged thermonuclear device.

There has been widespread speculation that the North might have prepared another nuclear test to coincide with the congress, as a defiant gesture to underscore its nuclear power status.

33-year-old Kim, who was not even born when the last Workers’ Party Congress was held in 1980, said the party conclave would prove to be a “new milestone” that would lay out the future direction “of our revolutionary march”.

The state TV announcer said the Congress discussed the operations of its powerful central military committee, revisions of party rules and elections to central party organs.

Around 130 foreign journalists had been invited to cover the event, but were not allowed inside the Congress venue.

The 1980 Congress was staged to crown Kim’s father Kim Jong-Il as heir apparent to his own father, the North’s founding leader Kim Il-Sung.

(With inputs from agencies)