North Korea calls for strengthened war readiness posture, expanded drills

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a session of the sixth enlarged meeting of the eighth Central Committee of the Workers' Party, in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this photo released on January 1, 2023 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA via REUTERS

SEOUL (Reuters) -North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged to expand military drills and beef up the country's war readiness posture, state media reported on Tuesday, as Pyongyang prepares to mark a military anniversary.

Kim presided over the meeting of the central military commission of the ruling Workers' Party on Monday where officials discussed "major military and political tasks" for this year and the "long-term issues concerning the orientation for army building," KCNA news agency said.

"Studied and discussed there were ... the issue of constantly expanding and intensifying the operation and combat drills of the KPA to cope with the prevailing situation and more strictly perfecting the preparedness for war," KCNA said, referring to the Korean People's Army.

The meeting comes as North Korea is widely expected to stage a military parade to mark the founding anniversary of its armed forces on Wednesday.

Commercial satellite imagery has shown North Korean troops practicing in formation in Pyongyang, and South Korea has also said it was monitoring increased related activities.

The military meeting also follows North Korea on Thursday condemning drills by the United States and its allies, saying they have reached an "extreme red-line" and threaten to turn the peninsula into a "huge war arsenal and a more critical war zone."

In Thursday's statement, the North Korean foreign ministry condemned a visit to South Korea by U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and said Pyongyang was not interested in dialogue as long as Washington pursues hostile policies.

Last Tuesday, Austin and his South Korean counterpart said they would expand military drills and deploy more "strategic assets," such as aircraft carriers and long-range bombers, to counter North Korea's weapons development and prevent a war.

When asked about the tensions with North Korea during a stop in the Philippines, Austin said that the U.S. goal was to promote greater security and stability and that it remained committed to defending South Korea.

(Reporting by Soo-hyang ChoiEditing by Grant McCool and Sandra Maler)

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Next In World

Burrowing badgers threaten to undermine Dutch rail system
U.S. arrests former Haitian mayor accused of political violence
Colombia's humanitarian situation worsened in 2022, says ICRC
UN agencies appeal for funding to help Somali refugees in Ethiopia
Widespread parts of Southern California under flood watch as cold storm hits
Canada's population marks record-high growth in 2022
U.S. top diplomat Blinken urges all ICC members to comply with Putin arrest warrant
U.S. maternal mortality more than 10 times higher than in Australia: The Guardian
Tanzania records 60 cases of cholera in four regions
U.S. residents sue local officials over chemical plants: The Guardian