The regime announces that it will strengthen its “nuclear deterrent”

Kim Jong-un on an image released by the official North Korean agency on May 24, 2020. – AFP

North Korea discussed new measures to strengthen its “nuclear deterrent” during a meeting chaired by its leader Kim Jong-un, the state news agency KCNA announced on Sunday.

The meeting was the first public appearance of Kim Jong-un reported by the North Korean media in nearly three weeks. It intervenes whereas, according to information from the Washington Post, the US administration recently discussed the possibility of carrying out a nuclear test, which would be the first conducted by the United States since 1992. During a meeting of the North Korean Central Military Commission under the chairmanship of Kim Jong-un “new measures have been introduced to strengthen the country’s military nuclear deterrent,” KCNA reported.

“A series of faults in the military and political activities” of the country

The agency talks about “crucial measures” but does not provide details on the nature of the nuclear deterrence decisions. KCNA said talks also focused on “placing strategic armed forces on alert,” as part of “the growth and development of the country’s armed forces.” Decisions have notably been adopted for “a considerable increase and development of the firepower of artillery pieces of the Korean People’s Army”, according to the official agency.

The meeting also discussed “a series of flaws in military and political activities” in North Korea and discussed ways to achieve “decisive improvement” in these areas, added KCNA. The dispatch from the North Korean agency does not specify when the meeting was held. But it indicates in a second dispatch that Kim Jong-un issued an order to the armed forces on May 23.

Speculation about Kim’s health

It is in any case the first public appearance of Kim Jong-un reported by the official media in more than 20 days. The North Korean leader reappeared in early May after a three-week public absence that sparked rumors and speculation about his health.

Rumors began after his notable absence from major celebrations on April 15. This day is the most important on the North Korean political calendar because the whole country commemorates the birth of the founder of the regime, Kim Il-sung, the grandfather of the current leader.

Kim Jong-un had appeared in apparently healthy public on images released by the North Korean media on May 2. Sunday, the official daily newspaper Rodong Sinmun posted photos of the Central Military Commission meeting.

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