Kim Jong Un unveils North Korea’s new military goals for 2023
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un set new goals for the country’s military at the Sixth Enlarged Plenary Meeting of the party’s 8th Central Committee as tensions continue to escalate on the Korean Peninsula.
Kim told party leaders that North Korea faces a “newly created challenging situation” on the Korean Peninsula and set the direction for the “anti-enemy struggle,” the country’s state media reported Wednesday, according to Reuters.
“He specified the principles of foreign affairs and the direction of the struggle against the enemy that our party and government must thoroughly abide by in order to protect sovereign rights and defend national interests,” the KCNA news agency said in the report.
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To accomplish those goals, KCNA said Kim called for a “strengthening self-defensive capabilities to be strongly pursued in 2023,” though the report did not offer specific details on what the increased military build up would look like.
The dictator’s remarks come amid rising tensions between the isolated country and its neighbors South Korea and Japan, which have both pushed for a stronger military in response to an unprecedented amount of missile tests conducted by North Korea.
North Korea has threatened to take “bold military steps” against Japan in response to Tokyo’s plans to make large increases in its defense spending, which North Korea compared to Japan’s military buildup prior to World War II.
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“Japan’s foolish attempt to satiate its black-hearted greed – the building up of its military invasion capability with the pretext of a legitimate exercise of self-defense rights – cannot be justified and tolerated,” a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said of the plans last week.
That rhetoric came just days after North Korea resumed weapons testing last week, firing two ballistic missiles over international waters that fell between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.
Tensions have also been high with South Korea, most recently on Monday when North Korean drones violated South Korean airspace for the first time in five years, forcing the South Korean military to fire warning shots and scramble aircraft in an attempt to shoot down the drones.
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However, the South Korean military failed to shoot down the drones before they vanished off radar, a failure South Korea vowed would lead to a recalibrating of its anti-drone program.
“We have a plan to create a military drone unit tasked with monitoring key military facilities in North Korea. But we’ll advance the establishment of the drone unit as soon as possible because of yesterday’s incident,” South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said on Tuesday. “We’ll also introduce state-of-the art stealth drones and bolster our surveillance capability.”
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