And at a parade marking the conclusion of the Congress, Kim's military showed off a new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). Kim's message was crystal clear: Right now, North Korea needs its nuclear weapons to deter the United States "no matter who is in power," he said -- and no matter the cost.
The young leader's ambitious plans for modernizing his nuclear arsenal will prove expensive, at a time when money is already tight. North Korea voluntarily severed the last of its scant ties with the outside world in 2020 to prevent an influx of Covid-19. That included cutting off almost all trade with Beijing, an economic lifeline the impoverished country needs to keep its people from going hungry.