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(LEAD) Pyongyang reiterates resolve to fight against U.S.

2017/05/09 15:37

(ATTN: ADDS more info in last 3 paras)

SEOUL, May 9 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Tuesday reiterated its resolve to continue to fight against the United States as it marked the first anniversary of its leader being elected the chairman of the ruling party.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un became the chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea at a rare party congress held in May last year.

North Korea's state media praised Kim's accomplishments, saying that the country has withstood what it calls U.S. nuclear blackmail and sanctions.

"The U.S. and its followers adhered to its largest-ever nuclear threats and scheme for pressure and sanctions to rob us of everything we cherish. But our line of defense is an impregnable fortress," the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

The North's leader has strengthened his power since late 2011 when he took office following the sudden death of his father Kim Jong-il.

Last year's party congress, the first one in more than 30 years, was a venue for Kim to reaffirm his unfettered rule.

The anniversary came as North Korea is under a set of U.S. sanctions for its nuclear and missile tests. Pyongyang carried out two nuclear tests last year alone following those in 2006, 2009 and 2013.

North Korea has claimed that its development of nuclear weapons is a deterrent against what it calls Washington's hostile policy towards it.

"At a time when we are going eyeball to eyeball with the U.S., the current grave situation on the peninsula calls for ceaselessly marching toward implementing tasks unveiled at the party congress," said the Rodong Sinmun, the country's main newspaper.

The paper also said that international sanctions will not have any impact on North Korea, as time is on its side.

"(The U.S. administration) should first have correct understanding about us. We cherish nuclear deterrents and will not give up them whatever people say," it added.

Kim pledged to "permanently" pursue his policy of developing nuclear weapons in tandem with economic growth at the party congress.

This image captured from footage of North Korea's state TV station on May 8, 2016, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) speaking at a congress of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap) This image captured from footage of North Korea's state TV station on May 8, 2016, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) speaking at a congress of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

sooyeon@yna.co.kr

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