North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has instructed the military, munitions industry, and nuclear weapons sector to expedite war preparations in response to what he described as unprecedented aggressive steps by the United States, according to state media on Thursday.
At a critical gathering of the country’s governing party on Wednesday, Kim also stated Pyongyang would strengthen strategic collaboration with “anti-imperialist independent” countries, according to news agency KCNA.
“He (Kim) set forth the militant tasks for the People’s Army and the munitions industry, nuclear weapons, and civil defense sectors to further accelerate the war preparations,” KCNA said.
North Korea has been strengthening connections with Russia, among others, while Washington accuses Pyongyang of transferring military supplies to Moscow for use in its fight with Ukraine, while Russia gives technical assistance to the North.
“He clarified the important tasks for the new year to be dynamically pushed forward in the key industrial sectors” and called for “stabilizing agricultural production on a high level.”
In recent decades, North Korea has experienced severe food shortages, including famine in the 1990s, sometimes as a result of natural disasters. Border controls during the COVID-19 epidemic, according to international experts, harmed food security.
The 9th plenary meeting of the Workers’ Party of Korea’s 8th central committee began on Tuesday, capping off a year in which the isolated North codified nuclear policy in its constitution, launched a spy satellite, and fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile.
In recent years, the days-long gathering of party and government officials has been used to make major policy announcements. Kim’s address was previously released by official media on New Year’s Day.