North Korean leader Kim Jong Un used a meeting of military leaders Saturday to establish new policies for increasing his nation’s nuclear deterrence, state news agency KCNA reports.
Kim is said to have presided over a meeting of the Workers’ Party of Korea Central Military Commission (CMC), his first public appearance since the beginning of the month.
According to KCNA, “crucial measures for considerably increasing the firepower strike ability of the artillery pieces of the Korean People’s Army” were taken at the meeting, in addition to actions “putting the strategic armed forces on a high alert operation.”
At the meeting, Kim signed orders regarding “enhancing” the responsibility and roles of NoKo’s major military educational institutions, reorganizing its military command system “to meet the mission and duty of the security institutions” and promoting the military ranks of commanding officers, says KCNA.
The gathering also “reviewed and analyzed a series of drawbacks in the military and political activities of the overall armed forces of the DPRK” and discussed “methodological issues for overcoming them and bringing about drastic improvement.”
Footage on state television from Kim Jong Un's appearance on Saturday shows mask-wearing was obligatory for those standing outside the room. pic.twitter.com/2lm0vOElLb
— NK NEWS (@nknewsorg) May 24, 2020
KCNA adds that the meeting “served as a historic turning point of great significance in increasing the capabilities of the revolutionary armed forces.”
North Korea increased its missile testing earlier this year.
Denuclearization talks with the United States stalled last fall. Kim warned the U.S. that it had until the end of 2019 to jump-start the negotiations.
When the deadline passed, he announced in a New Year’s Day message that his country would expand its nuclear deterrent, and would no longer be held to a self-imposed moratorium on conducting major weapons testing.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly appeared in public Saturday for the first time in over three weeks to host a military meeting, according to state media reports.
“Set forth at the meeting were new policies for further increasing the nuclear war deterrence of the country and putting the strategic armed forces on a high alert operation,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
The news agency released images of Kim speaking from behind a large desk to an audience of men dressed in military uniforms.
Who would be the next President of the United States of America?
— Kim Jong-un 김정은 🇰🇵🇰🇵🇰🇵 (@ReaIKimJongUn) May 22, 2020
Kim had been out of the public eye for several weeks before he reappeared to mark the opening of a fertilizer factory on May 1, raising rumors about his health and possible surgery.
However, South Korea’s intelligence agency claimed earlier this month that he was staying out of the public eye due to coronavirus concerns.
Last week, Kim abruptly replaced his bodyguard and the head of North Korea’s spy agency, according to South Korean media. No reasons were provided for the actions.