North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered his military to accelerate its war preparations and adopt offensive measures to deter potential adversaries, state media reported on Monday.
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Kim made the remarks during a meeting of the Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea on Sunday, where he also approved unspecified “important military measures”.
Kim’s comments come as the United States and South Korea are set to hold their annual joint military exercises next week, which Pyongyang has denounced as a rehearsal for invasion and a provocation.
According to KCNA, Kim stressed the need to “secure more powerful strike means” and “conduct actual war drills” to enhance the combat capability of the Korean People’s Army (KPA).
He also called for the mass production of various weapons and equipment, and urged the munitions industry to “push ahead with the development of cutting-edge military science and technology”.
Kim said the KPA should be ready to “deal a telling blow to the enemies” who are “getting more frantic in their reckless military confrontation” with North Korea, KCNA reported.
North Korea has conducted more than 100 missile tests since the start of 2022, many of them in response to the U.S.-South Korea military drills or sanctions imposed by the United Nations over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The country has also claimed to have developed new weapons, such as hypersonic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and nuclear warheads, but has not conducted any nuclear tests since 2017.
Kim’s latest remarks indicate that he is not interested in resuming dialogue with the United States, which has been stalled since his failed summit with former President Donald Trump in 2019.
The Biden administration has said it is open to diplomacy with North Korea, but has also vowed to maintain a “calibrated” and “practical” approach to the nuclear issue.
The U.S. and South Korea have said their military exercises are defensive in nature and necessary to maintain their readiness and deterrence against North Korea’s threats.