North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to further bolster his military capability, maintain draconian anti-virus measures and push hard to improve the economy during a speech at a key political conference this week, state media reported Saturday.

A state media report on Kim’s speech at the five-day plenary meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party didn’t carry any specific comments on dealings with the United States and South Korea. Some experts say this implies Kim has no interest in resuming talks with Washington and Seoul anytime soon and would rather keep his country’s borders closed while seeking a stronger self-reliant economy to overcome pandemic-related difficulties.

“The increasingly unstable military environment on the Korean Peninsula and international politics have instigated calls to vigorously push forward with our national defense build-up plans without any delay,” Kim was quoted as saying by the official Korean Central News Agency. Kim ordered the production of powerful, modern weapons systems to improve his military forces and called for the military’s “absolute loyalty and allegiance” to the ruling party led by him, according to KCNA.

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