Kim Jong Un Sets Up Main Objectives for Increasing Military Capability

Kim Jong Un
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State media stated on Wednesday that Kim Jong Un revealed undefined intentions to significantly boost his military capabilities in 2019, suggesting he would continue his provocative string of weapons shows into the new year.

Anger between the two Koreas has been building this week after South Korea accused the North of sending drones over their shared border for the first time in five years, prompting Kim’s comments. Experts believe North Korea is trying to update its arsenal and strengthen its leverage in future discussions with the United States by conducting a record number of missile launches this year.

According to the official Korean Central News Agency, Kim addressed the ongoing plenary meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party on Tuesday, where he discussed new security challenges in international politics and on the Korean Peninsula, and outlined principles and directions to take in external relations and fights against enemies to protect national interests and sovereignty.

KCNA said that Kim “laid out new important targets for strengthening the self-reliant defense capabilities to be pushed forward with in 2023 under the multilaterally changing environment,” without providing details.

There are many who believe Kim’s new aims are tied to his efforts to build up his nuclear arsenal and introduce a slew of high-tech military systems, such as multi-warhead missiles, a more nimble long-range weapon, a spy satellite, and cutting-edge drones. They speculate that Kim will ultimately attempt to exploit the North’s enhanced nuclear capabilities to coerce its competitors into accepting the North as a genuine nuclear state, something he would see as crucial to removing international sanctions on his country.

On Monday, after allegedly seeing five North Korean drones in its territory, the South Korean military responded by launching fighter planes and helicopters and firing warning shots. In retaliation, South Korea has presumably sent unmanned drones or other forms of observation aircraft over the border into North Korea.

The South Korean armed forces admitted publicly that they had failed to shoot down the drones, and they apologized for the unease they had caused. To effectively monitor North Korea, President Yoon Suk Yeol has requested for robust air defense and cutting-edge stealth drones.

Experts believe that North Korea’s drone flights were an attempt to gauge South Korean and American preparedness and undermine an existing pact to reduce tensions between the two Koreas. Experts believe that North Korea has calculated that internal tensions and heightened security concerns in South Korea are the direct result of the country’s drone operations.

 

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