Kim calls for strengthening North Korea’s armed forces

Kim calls for strengthening North Korea's armed forces

Pyongyang, Dec 22: North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has chaired a meeting with the countrys top military officials to discuss political and military measures to bolster its defensive capabilities, according to the regime’s official media Sunday.

Kim addressed the Third Enlarged Meeting of the Seventh Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea ahead of the party plenary meeting scheduled for the end of the month, Efe news reported.

The meeting, the dates of which were not revealed, was held amid revived tensions with the United States and after Pyongyang threatened to take ‘a new path’ from the denuclearisation talks with Washington, which has been at a standstill for months.

During the meeting, Kim “gave analysis and briefing on the complicated internal and external situation and said that the meeting would decide on important organisational and political measures and military steps to bolster up the overall armed forces”, Efe reported.

“Also discussed were important issues for decisive improvement of the overall national defence and core matters for the sustained and accelerated development of military capability for self-defence,” the report added.

According to Korean Central News Agency (KCNA ) concrete measures included the organisation and expansion of military units, although it did not give further details on these military capabilities.

The KCNA report did not mention the denuclearisation talks with the US, and only alluded to a “fast-changing situation and crucial time” during which the meeting was held.

At the forthcoming plenary meeting of the party, announced earlier this month by Pyongyang to decide on what it called crucial announcements, the regime is expected to make decisions on its dialog with Washington.

Pyonyang proposed a year-end deadline for the US to present a new offer to the negotiations before the regime opts for “a new path,” the North Korean leader warned in the previous full party in April.

Talks on disarmament have remained stalled since the failed second summit in Hanoi in February, where the US considered the number of active nuclear sites North Korea proposed to dismantle as insufficient and refused to lift sanctions.

The top US official responsible for talks with North Korea, Stephen Biegun, recently visited Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing to make progress on negotiations although the trip did not result in any visible progress.

His visit came after the regime announced having conducted a major test of its defence capabilities at a satellite launch station, which followed other arms tests carried out in previous weeks.