North Korea will develop its military prowess in preparation for a potential confrontation with the United States, according to the hermit kingdom’s news agency.
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said that leader Kim Jong Un on Sunday led a meeting of the Central Military Commission and “set forth important tasks for further developing the Korean People's Army and ways to do so” – a day after President Barack Obama warned the North of America’s military strength.
“He (Kim Jong UN) stressed the need to enhance the function and role of the political organs of the army if it is to preserve the proud history and tradition of being the army of the party, win one victory after another in the confrontation with the US and creditably perform the mission as a shock force and standard-bearer in building a thriving nation,” KCNA reported.
Mr Obama said Saturday on a visit to Seoul, where the US army has a large presence, that the United States did not use its military might to “impose things” on others, but that it would use that might if necessary to defend South Korea from any attack by the reclusive North.
North and South Korea are still technically at war after their 1950-53 civil conflict ended din a mere truce.
Last month the North, which routinely threatens the United States and the South with destruction, warned it would not rule out a “new form” of atomic test after the UN Security Council condemned Pyongyang's launch of a mid-range ballistic missile into the sea east of the Korean peninsula
North Korea is already subject to UN sanctions over its previous three atomic tests.
Recent satellite data shows continued work at the nuclear test site in North Korea, although experts analysing the data say that preparations do not appear to have progressed far enough for an imminent test.
“We don't use our military might to impose these things on others, but we will not hesitate to use our military might to defend our allies and our way of life,” Mr Obama told US forces at the Yongsan garrison.
“So like all nations on Earth, North Korea and its people have a choice. They can choose to continue down a lonely road of isolation, or they can choose to join the rest of the world and seek a future of greater opportunity, and greater security, and greater respect - a future that already exists for the citizens on the southern end of the Korean peninsula.”
Mr Obama is currently undertaking his high-profile Asia Tour; a four-country swing through the Asia-Pacific region, in an aim to promote the US as a committed economic, military and political partner.
Last week, the North Korean Foreign Ministry spoke out against Obama’s visit claiming that it was a “a reactionary and dangerous” move, aimed at “escalating confrontation” and “bringing dark clouds over an unstable region”.
Additional reporting by agencies
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies