Kim emphasizes military preparations before U.S.-South Korea exercises

SEOUL, South Korea (Associated Press)-North Korea said on Friday that leader Kim Jong-un called for increased capacity to respond to any foreign provocations when he met with military officials before the annual exercise between South Korea and the United States next month. Pyongyang considers this to be an invasion rehearsal. .

Earlier this week, Kim and rival South Korea reopened the suspended communication channel, sparking hopes of easing hostility on the Korean peninsula. However, some experts said that Pyongyang may conduct missile tests or take other actions to increase tensions in response to the exercises, and Seoul and Washington have made changes in support of diplomacy in the past few years.

The official North Korean Central News Agency stated that Kim Jong-un held a seminar for military commanders and political officials from July 24 to 27 to discuss ways to increase North Korea’s military strength. According to reports, this is the first time such a meeting has been held since the establishment of the North Korean army.

The KCNA stated that during the meeting, Kim Jong-un “emphasized that commanders and political officials should concentrate their full efforts on preparations and proactively respond to any military provocations by the enemy.”

Kim’s accusation of “hostile forces” obviously refers to the United States and South Korea, strengthening their ability to preemptively attack, and strengthening “various crazy and continuous war of aggression exercises.” KCNA said that Kim ordered seminar participants to make greater efforts to improve the combat efficiency of their troops.

Kim Jong-un’s speech by the Korean Central News Agency did not mention his nuclear program, nor did it contain any fierce remarks against the United States or South Korea.

In the past few years, South Korea and the United States have cancelled or scaled down some conventional military exercises to support the currently stalled North Korean nuclear program diplomacy or due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

South Korean Defense Ministry spokesperson Boo Seung-Chan was asked at a press conference on Thursday whether it was possible to cancel or reduce the scale of next month’s exercises, saying that Seoul and Washington are reviewing the current situation of the pandemic, and to achieve a cleanup on the Korean peninsula. Factors such as the efforts made in nuclearization. Peninsula and its joint military preparations.

Some experts said that if the United States and South Korea conduct exercises in a comprehensive manner, North Korea can test-fire powerful missiles.

Due to the controversy over international sanctions against North Korea, diplomatic efforts led by the United States to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear program have remained stagnant for about 2.5 years. During the diplomatic stalemate, Kim Jong Un threatened that if Washington did not withdraw its policy of hostility to North Korea, he would build his own nuclear arsenal.

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