North Korean leader has called for strengthening of the country’s defense capabilities amid reports that the East Asian country could be deploying tactical nuclear weapons to front-line artillery units.
According to the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Friday, Kim Jong-un chaired a key meeting, during which senior officials “provided a military guarantee for “further strengthen deterrence.”
During the meeting, North Korea, in a rare move, referred to the issue of “reviewing its war plans” and said it had decided to strengthen the operational tasks of its front-line units with “an important military action plan.”
Kim also called for his entire army to “go all out” in carrying out the plans to bolster the nation’s military muscle and consolidate “powerful self-defense capabilities for overwhelming any hostile forces and thus reliably protect the dignity of the great country”.
“North Korea could have added the possible use of tactical nuclear weapons in its new operation plans given the use of the term war deterrent which it uses to refer to nuclear capabilities,” Hong Min, a senior fellow at the Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul, was quoted as saying.
North Korea has, in addition to tests of short-range missiles, also test-fired intercontinental ballistic missiles and new hypersonic missiles this year amid heightened tensions with the US and South Korea.
KCNA on Thursday released a photo of the country’s top officials in a meeting with a map of what appeared to be the east coast of the Korean Peninsula, where South Korea’s nuclear power plants are located.
South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol, when asked about the North Korean meeting, said Seoul was preparing a “firm response” to the North’s activities.
North Korea, which has been reeling under crushing UN sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, has ramped up its missile launches this year, carrying out over a dozen weapons tests, including an intercontinental ballistic missile at the full range for the first time since 2017.
North Korea maintains that its weapons tests are a defensive measure against threats posed by the presence of US forces near its territorial waters and the holding of joint war games with South Korea.
Since Joe Biden’s election early last year, Pyongyang has slammed the new president for pursuing a “hostile policy” and saying it was a “big blunder” for him to say he would deal with the “threat” posed by the North’s nuclear program “through diplomacy as well as stern deterrence.”
Source: Agencies (edited by Al-Manar English Website)