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North Korea: Kim Jong-un talks defense policies in meeting with senior military officials

US Department of State / Wikimedia Commons

The repeated missile tests from North Korea have led to a rise in tensions in the Korean peninsula and with the United States and Japan. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un recently hosted a meeting with his senior military officials to discuss the country’s defense policies.

North Korea’s state media outlet KCNA reported Wednesday that Kim held a meeting with the ruling Worker’s Party Central Military Commission that started Tuesday. The meeting was to review the isolated nation’s defense work in the first half of 2022 and confirm what other measures needed to be done to expand military capabilities and implement key defense policies.

The meeting comes at a time when the United States and South Korean officials warned the past several months that Pyongyang may be gearing up to conduct its first nuclear test since 2017. Kim is also believed to be looking to make North Korea a nuclear power that will negotiate economic and security concessions from a position of strength.

The commission has reportedly begun discussions on the agenda presented, which would mean the meeting would continue for days.

The officials in attendance may also be discussing the progress made in the country’s weapons development and plan to deploy some of its systems that were tested over the past several months, including a potential hypersonic missile, a long-range cruise missile, and the newest intercontinental ballistic missile, according to Cheong Seong-chang of South Korea’s Sejong Institute.

The meeting among the military officials follows the latest conference where Kim reiterated the importance of developing the country’s military arsenal amidst what the North Korean leader said was a worsening security environment.

North Korea is also handling a surge of cases in the midst of the first formally recognized outbreak of COVID-19 in the isolated nation. Pyongyang has reported 18,820 more cases of fever and no new deaths this week amidst the insistence of authorities that the crisis is under control.

North Korea has reported over 4.6 million cases of fever during the first official outbreak.

However, officials did not reveal how many of those cases tested positive for the coronavirus. Friday last week, authorities reported over 23,100 cases of fever, the third consecutive day at the time infections stayed under the 30,000 mark.

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