KCNA via Agence France-Presse This photo taken and made available Wednesday by North Korea's official news agency (KCNA) shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (center left) at the plenary meeting of the Party central committee. workers of Korea, annual high mass of the single party in power in the country.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has called for his country's “speed up war preparations,” including its nuclear weapons program, due to the “grave political and military situation.” caused by “confrontational maneuvers” by the United States and its allies, state media reported Thursday.
During the plenary meeting of the central committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, the annual high mass of the single ruling party in North Korea, Kim Jong-un ordered “the People's Army, the munitions industry, nuclear weapons and civil defense sectors to accelerate war preparations,” the official KCNA news agency reported.
The leader made the call due to “the serious political and military situation on the Korean Peninsula which has reached an extreme point,” KCNA added, referring to “confrontational maneuvers by the United States and their vassal forces unprecedented in history.”
North Korea has conducted a record number of ballistic missile tests this year, in violation of numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions. In 2023, it engraved in its constitution its status as a nuclear power, successfully launched a military spy satellite, and also successfully tested the Hwasong-18, the most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in its arsenal, capable to reach the United States.
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For their part, the United States, South Korea and Japan have intensified their military cooperation, activating a system for sharing real-time data on North Korean missile launches and increasing joint military maneuvers in the region.
The American armed forces have notably sent to South Korea in recent months the nuclear-powered submarine USS Missouri, the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and a B-52 strategic bomber, each time provoking the anger of North Korea .
Pyongyang sees the military maneuvers on its doorstep as a rehearsal for a future invasion of its territory, and has long viewed its missile tests as necessary “countermeasures.”
North Korea also announced last year a new doctrine making its status as a nuclear power “irreversible”, which the regime considers essential to ensure its survival.
Seoul and Washington have warned that any North Korean nuclear attack would result in retaliation and the destruction of Kim Jong-un's regime.
“If North Korea does anything reckless that destroys peace, all that awaits it is appalling destruction,” South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik warned on December 14 .
Invariably supported by China, the country has also recently moved closer to Russia. According to KCNA, Kim Jong-un also called during the party meeting to “expand and develop strategic cooperation relations with independent and anti-imperialist countries”.