N.K. leader presides over key party meeting to discuss military capability
N.K. leader presides over key party meeting to discuss military capability
  • Kim Ju-ho
  • 승인 2019.12.23 08:57
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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presided over an enlarged meeting of the Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers' Party and discussed "important organizational and political measures and military steps to bolster up" the armed forces, state media said Sunday.

The meeting was held amid heightened tensions with the United States with Pyongyang threatening to seek a "new way" unless Washington comes up with a acceptable proposal in their nuclear negotiations by end of the year.

This photo disclosed on Dec. 22, 2019, by the Korean Central News Agency shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presiding over an enlarged meeting of the Workers' Party's Central Military Commission. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

"Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un gave analysis and briefing on the complicated internal and external situation and said that the meeting would decide on important organizational and political measures and military steps to bolster up the overall armed forces of the country," the Korean Central News Agency said.

"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," it added.

The meeting also decided on "important military issues and measures for organizing or expanding and reorganizing new units in conformity with the party's military and strategic intention, changing the affiliation of some units and changing deployment of units."

KCNA, however, did not provide details on military capability of self-defense. It did not mention when the meeting took place.

The meeting appears to suggest that the North could soon hold a plenary meeting of the party's Central Committee, where it could decide to scrap its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests.

The North declared the moratorium during a plenary meeting of the Central Committee last year in a highly symbolic peace gesture that led to the first-ever summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump in June last year.

Kim and Trump held their second summit in Hanoi in February this year, but the talks ended without an agreement due to wide differences over how to match Pyongyang's denuclearization measures and Washington's sanctions relief.

The two sides held working-level talks in October, but little progress was made.

North Korea has test-fired a series of short-range projectiles since May. The North also recently conducted two tests at its west coast satellite launch site, better known as the Dongchang-ri site, raising speculation that it is preparing to test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The U.S. has warned the North against carrying out provocations, urging Pyongyang to come out for talks.

Pyongyang has not responded to offers for dialogue and said that it is entirely up to the U.S. what "Christmas gift" it wants to get, raising a possibility that it could announce a major policy change in time for the holiday.

The U.S. appears to be ramping up its push for global cooperation in finding diplomatic solutions to the deepening North Korea nuclear problem.

The White House said that Trump held a phone conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday (Washington time) and agreed to continue "close communication and coordination" against "recent threatening statements" by North Korea. A day earlier, Trump tweeted that he spoke via phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss North Korea and trade issues.

The U.S. has been intensifying its efforts to monitor North Korea for any signs of a provocation. A flight tracker earlier said that the U.S. has flown a surveillance plane over the Korean Peninsula, the latest in a series of similar missions amid heightened tensions in the region.

Last week, Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. is "prepared for whatever" when it comes to a possible long-range missile launch from North Korea. (Yonhap)

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