Analysts said North Korea’s announcement could indicate plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons on the front lines.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the strengthening of the country’s defense capabilities at a key meeting where senior military officers approved a “significant” action plan for front-line troops.
The decisions, reported by state media on Friday, have raised concerns that North Korea may plan to deploy tactical nuclear weapons on front-line artillery units.
Kim chairs The Eighth Central Military Commission Enlarged MeetingOn Thursday, senior officials “approved an important issue of providing military guarantees to further strengthen the country’s war deterrence,” state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported. In a rare reference to North Korea revising its war plans, the report said officials at the meeting had decided to strengthen the combat duties of the country’s front-line forces through “a major military action plan.”
It also said that Kim Jong-un called on his entire army to “go all out” to implement plans to strengthen the country’s military and consolidate “strong self-defense capabilities to overwhelm any hostile forces, thereby reliably protecting the dignity of the great country”.
The KCNA news agency did not elaborate on the action plan adopted at the meeting, but analysts said North Korea may be planning to deploy battlefield nuclear weapons against South Korea on the tense border.
Hong Min, a senior researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul, said North Korea used the term deterrence of war to refer to its nuclear capabilities, and said the meeting’s outcome could mean Pyongyang “increased the likelihood of using tactical nuclear weapons.” its new operating plan”.
Analysts speculate that North Korea may be planning to deploy battlefield nuclear weapons to front-line troops when Kim Jong-un supervised State media said the test of the new short-range missile would “substantially” increase the firepower of front-line artillery units and “increase the operational efficiency of tactical nuclear weapons”.
In addition to short-range missile tests, North Korea also test-fired intercontinental ballistic missiles and new hypersonic missiles as Unprecedented number of weapons fired This year.U.S. and South Korean officials also say Pyongyang is too Prepare The first nuclear test in five years.
Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, tweeted that the CMC meeting was likely to formalize the nuclear mission of the frontline artillery units.
Kim Jong-un just chaired a meeting of the Central Military Commission and decided to “take important military measures to enhance the combat capability of front-line troops.”https://t.co/4Mzm3iEVUD pic.twitter.com/62W8DZhnjC
— Dr. Jeffrey Lewis (@ArmsControlWonk) June 23, 2022
“I think having front-line artillery units on a nuclear mission is a big enough change for North Korea, which has previously concentrated nuclear-armed missiles in [Korean People’s Army] The strategic rocket force, Jin decided to formalize it at the Central Military Commission meeting,” he said.
Lewis told the NK news site that the decision was just the first step, adding that North Korea may have to carry out construction projects to prepare for the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons on the front lines.
He added that Kim will have to grapple with how to handle command and control of tactical nuclear weapons if they end up on the front lines.
Separately, KCNA released a photo of senior North Korean officials at the meeting on Thursday, including what appeared to be a map of the east coast of the Korean peninsula, where South Korea’s nuclear power plants are located.
An official at Seoul’s Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, said Pyongyang appeared to have deliberately released the photo and could increase its threat to South Korea in the future.
Meanwhile, South Korean President Yoon Se-yeol, asked about the North Korean meeting, said Seoul was preparing a “firm response” to North Korea’s activities.