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North Korean leader unveils new goals to boost military power

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is seen attending the Sixth Enlarged Plenary Meeting of the eighth Central Committee of the Workers’ Party in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this undated photo released on December 27, 2022 by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). (Photo by Reuters)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has presented new key goals to further boost the country’s military power next year, amid growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Kim presented the goals at the second day of the Sixth Enlarged Plenary Meeting of the ruling party’s 8th Central Committee, where he assessed the new challenging situation created on the Korean Peninsula as well as the international political situation, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Wednesday.

“He specified the principles of foreign affairs and the direction of the struggle against the enemy that our party and government must thoroughly abide by in order to protect sovereign rights and defend national interests,” KCNA reported.

“New core goals for strengthening self-defensive capabilities to be strongly pursued in 2023 have been presented in preparation for diverse fluctuations in the political situation,” it added, without providing further details on those goals. 

Kim’s remarks could be an indication that the country will continue a weapons tests.

Tensions remain high on the Korean Peninsula as South Korea continues to hold joint drills with the United States, while the North, which sees the exercises as a rehearsal for invasion, continues to develop and test its defense tools.

On Friday, North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles toward the sea off its east coast, less than a week after the country launched two mid-range missiles.

The launch followed a year of multiple tests by North Korea, including the launch of its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile last month.

Pyongyang’s test came after the United States and South Korea held a joint aerial drill last Tuesday and deployed a US B-52H strategic bomber to the Korean Peninsula, according to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff.

North Korea has time and again warned that it will not tolerate US-led war games in the region, vowing to continue responding with its own drills.

The country has been reeling under multiple United Nations Security Council sanctions since 2006; however, that has not prevented it from developing its nuclear and missile capabilities as a deterrent against hostile Western-led moves.

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