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Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has directed the military to prepare for a potential war, emphasizing the need for readiness on the Korean peninsula. Kim’s speech, concluding five days of year-end meetings, included threats of a nuclear attack on Seoul and outlined plans for military expansion in 2024.

The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Kim criticized the United States, accusing it of posing various military threats. Plans for the upcoming year include launching three spy satellites, developing unmanned drones, enhancing electronic warfare capabilities, and bolstering nuclear and missile forces.

Kim asserted that the possibility of war is imminent due to perceived reckless actions by external forces, emphasizing the need for overwhelming war response capability. The United States’ recent deployment of a nuclear-powered submarine in Busan and joint drills with long-range bombers near the Korean peninsula were seen by North Korea as provocative moves.

In response, Kim declared a shift in strategy, stating that reconciliation and reunification with South Korea are no longer sought due to a persisting uncontrollable crisis situation. Inter-Korean relations reached a low point this year, with Pyongyang’s spy satellite launch prompting Seoul to partially suspend a 2018 military agreement.

Kim ordered the reorganization of departments handling cross-border affairs, signaling a fundamental shift in direction. Analysts, such as Leif Easley, suggest that North Korea’s emphasis on military capabilities may be an attempt to divert attention from economic challenges. Easley notes that Pyongyang’s aggressive rhetoric serves both as a deterrent and a tool for domestic and international influence.

North Korea declared itself an irreversible nuclear power last year, vowing never to abandon its nuclear program, viewed as crucial for regime survival. Despite numerous UN Security Council resolutions urging cessation, North Korea remains steadfast in its pursuit of nuclear and ballistic missile programs since its initial nuclear test in 2006.

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