N Korea’s Kim calls for ‘practical, offensive’ war deterrence

The North Korean leader orders expansion of war deterrents to counter “frenzied” aggression by the US and South Korea.

Leader Kim Jong Un has called for strengthening North Korea’s war deterrent in a “more hands-on and offensive” way, according to state media, while meeting with senior military officials to discuss the country’s preparations for conflict.

Monday’s Central Military Commission meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party came amid heightened tensions as the pace of joint military exercises by the United States and South Korea has intensified.

North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency said committee members met to discuss ongoing efforts to strengthen the country’s war deterrent to “cope with the escalating moves of the US imperialists and the South Korean puppet traitors to unleash a war of aggression”.

Washington and Seoul have described their exercises as defensive in nature and said the expansion of exercises is necessary to cope with Pyongyang’s growing nuclear and missile programs.

Reviewing North Korea’s front-line strike plans and various combat documents, Kim stressed the need to bolster its nuclear deterrent with “increasing speed in a more hands-on and offensive manner,” according to KCNA.

The meeting also discussed “practical matters and measures for machines to prepare various military action proposals which means and means of counteraction are not available to the enemy,” it added.

The US and South Korean armies conducted their largest field exercises in years last month. They also held joint naval and air force exercises involving a US carrier strike group and nuclear-capable bombers.

KCNA claimed the “frantic” exercises simulated an “all-out war against” North Korea and made threats to occupy Pyongyang and behead its leadership.

Pyongyang has fired about 30 missiles in 11 different launch events this year, including intercontinental ballistic missiles that demonstrated the potential range to reach the US mainland and several shorter-range weapons designed to launch nuclear strikes against South Korean targets.

North Korea also unveiled new, smaller warheads and tested what it called a nuclear-capable underwater strike drone.

Nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled since 2019 over disagreements over the exchange of crippling US-led sanctions and North Korea’s moves to scale down its nuclear weapons program.