SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea expelled a BBC reporting crew on Monday for what it deemed a disrespectful portrayal of the country and its leader, Kim Jong-un, as Mr. Kim used a rare Workers’ Party congress to cement his totalitarian grip on power.
More than 100 foreign journalists were granted visas to visit North Korea for the duration of the seventh congress of the Workers’ Party, the first such political gathering in 36 years. But the authorities there blocked those journalists from covering the event, forcing them to rely on state-run, propaganda-filled domestic news media to glean details of the meeting.
The BBC reported that its correspondent, Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, who had arrived with a delegation of Nobel laureates before the congress, had been detained on Friday and questioned for eight hours before being made to sign a statement.
O Ryong Il, the secretary general of the North’s National Peace Committee, said that Mr. Wingfield-Hayes’s coverage had distorted facts and “spoke ill of the system and the leadership of the country,” The Associated Press reported.
A producer, Maria Byrne, and a cameraman, Matthew Goddard, were also being expelled on Monday, the BBC said. They, along with Mr. Wingfield-Hayes, were stopped on Friday as the three were trying to leave the country.
The congress reconfirmed Kim Jong-un as its supreme leader after he called for a more vigorous development of nuclear weapons and missiles, state-run news media reported on Monday.
Mr. Kim, the third-generation leader in his family’s dynastic rule of North Korea, had been widely expected to use the congress to cement his grip on power and have his crucial policies, including the so-called byungjin policy of increasing a nuclear arsenal while rebuilding the economy, adopted as official party lines.
“The Workers’ Party of Korea will hold our dear Kim Jong-un in high esteem at the top post of the Juche revolution,” said a decision that more than 3,400 delegates to the congress unanimously adopted on Sunday, the third day of the meeting. Juche, or self-reliance, is the name of North Korea’s ruling ideology.
The congress — in theory, the North’s highest decision-making body — called Mr. Kim “the supreme leader of our party, state and military.”
Its lengthy document was carried by the official party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, on Monday.
Mr. Kim has ruled North Korea since his father, Kim Jong-il, died in 2011. He already holds top posts in the military and government. In 2012, he created a new top party title, first secretary, for himself after making his father the permanent general secretary of the party. It remained unclear whether Mr. Kim will be reconfirmed as first secretary or create a new title when the party’s charter is revised this week.
Outside analysts who had hoped that Mr. Kim would introduce overhauls found few encouraging signs.
“It is necessary to continue to carry out the party’s strategic line of simultaneously pushing forward the economic construction and the building of nuclear force,” Mr. Kim said on Sunday at the end of his lengthy policy review, which stretched over three days. “This strategic line is the most revolutionary and scientific one reflecting the lawful requirements of building a thriving socialist nation and the specific conditions of our country.”
With that, Mr. Kim again flouted Washington’s repeated call for his country to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
The party meeting took place shortly after the United Nations Security Council imposed a new round of tougher sanctions to punish the North for its recent nuclear and long-range rocket tests. But the decision adopted by the congress upheld Mr. Kim’s campaign to expand his country’s nuclear arsenal “both in quality and quantity” by producing more diverse and smaller nuclear warheads.
It also said the country should launch more satellites. The United Nations has condemned the North’s satellite program as a cover for developing an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Mr. Kim also said that his country proudly stuck fast to its “socialist path of our own choosing” by successfully repelling “the confusing winds of bourgeois liberalization, reform and openness from around us.”
Under Mr. Kim, North Korea’s military has heightened crackdowns on DVDs and other digital media smuggled through the border with China that contained movies and other outside content. When the foreign journalists arrived in Pyongyang, the capital, for the congress, their digital memory cards were inspected at the airport for possible banned content.
In its decision, the congress also said that North Korea will act like a “responsible nuclear power,” not proliferating its nuclear knowledge abroad and working for “the denuclearization of the world.” It said it would improve ties with other countries, including South Korea, if they respected the North.
But the North made no commitment to denuclearizing itself. Instead, it demanded that the United States prove that it is no longer hostile to the country by stopping its annual joint military drills with South Korea, withdrawing its troops from there, and signing a peace treaty with Pyongyang.
South Korea dismissed the overture as propaganda, saying that dialogue was possible only when the North convinced the South that it was ready to give up its nuclear weapons.
But the congress only reconfirmed that the North had no intention of giving up its nuclear weapons, said Moon Sang-gyun, a spokesman of the South Korean Defense Ministry.
“It is a consistent stance by us and the international community that North Korea should not be recognized as a nuclear power,” said Jeong Joon-hee, a spokesman for the Unification Ministry of South Korea. “Strong international sanctions and pressure will continue until the North abandons its nuclear program.”
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