North Korea announces the 'broadening and intensification' of its military exercises
North Korea's military said it would expand and intensify its military exercises in preparation for "war readiness" (illustration image).
AFP - JUNG YEON-JE
Text by: RFI Follow
North Korea's military has said it will expand and intensify its military drills in preparation for "preparing for war", state media reported on Tuesday (February 7th) ahead of a massive parade.
The commitment was made at a meeting held on Monday 6 under the leadership of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, following joint air exercises by South Korea and the United States last week.
On the agenda was "
the constant expansion and intensification of operations and combat exercises of the Korean People's Army (...) in order to strictly perfect the preparation for war
", according to the official agency. KCNA.
At the same time, private satellite images suggest that “
significant preparations for a
military parade” are underway in the capital Pyongyang, ahead of national holidays.
On February 8, North Korea celebrates the anniversary of the founding of its armed forces, and on February 16, the birthday of Kim Jong-il, father and predecessor of the current North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un.
The joint exercises of South Korea and the United States
Seoul and Washington last week held aerial drills with strategic bombers and stealth fighter jets, angering Pyongyang, which said such maneuvers could "
trigger an all-out confrontation
This show of force by the two allied powers comes after US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and his South Korean counterpart announced increased security cooperation against Pyongyang.
For North Korea, the steps taken by Seoul and Washington to step up their joint exercises crossed "
an extreme red line
", a spokesperson for the North Korean Foreign Ministry had told KCNA.
Pyongyang considers these aerial maneuvers as rehearsals for an invasion of its territory.
To read also: For Pyongyang, the situation on the Korean peninsula is at the "extreme limit of the red line"
An "exponential increase in the nuclear arsenal"
According to Hong Min, a researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification, a Seoul-based research organization, Monday's meeting of North Korean brass was meant to underscore the country's readiness for upcoming joint military exercises and at war.
The North Korean leader had called in early January for an "
exponential increase in the nuclear arsenal
" of North Korea, including the mass production of tactical nuclear weapons and the development of new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
To read also: North Korea threatens Japan after the announcement of defense strategy
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