SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un presented unspecified goals to further strengthen his military power next year at a meeting of senior politicians, state media reported on Wednesday, indicating he will continue his provocative series of weapon displays.
Kim’s statement came as animosities with rival South Korea rose sharply this week as the South accused the North of flying drones across the rivals’ border for the first time in five years.
This year, North Korea has already conducted a record number of missile tests in what experts call a bid to modernize its arsenal and increase its influence in future relations with the United States.
During Tuesday’s session at the ruling Workers’ Party’s ongoing plenary meeting, Kim analyzed new security challenges in international politics and on the korean peninsula and clarified principles and guidelines to be adopted in foreign relations and fighting against enemies to protect national interests and sovereignty, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.
Kim “has set new key goals for building self-defense capability to be continued in 2023 within the framework of multilateral developments,” KCNA said, without giving further details.
Some observers say the new goals could be linked to Kim’s desire to expand his nuclear arsenal and introduce a series of high-tech weapon systems such as multi-warhead missiles, a more agile long-range weapon, spy satellite and advanced drones.
They say Kim would ultimately aim to use his enhanced nuclear capability to force his rivals to accept the North as a legitimate nuclear state, a status he believes is essential to securing the lifting of international sanctions against his country.
Monday, The South Korean army fired warning shots and launched fighter jets and helicopters, after detecting what he called five North Korean drones that violated southern airspace.
South Korea also flew its own surveillance assets, in a likely reference to unmanned drones, across the border into North Korea in response.
South Korea’s military said it failed to shoot down the drones and issued a public apology for causing security concerns. President Yoon Suk Yeol called for strong air defense and high-tech stealth drones to better monitor North Korea.
Some experts say the North Korean drone flights may have been designed to test South Korean and American readiness and neutralize a previous inter-Korean agreement to reduce tensions.
They say North Korea likely valued its drones as a cheap but effective method of causing security concerns and domestic rift in South Korea.
Yoon, a conservative who took office in May, said Tuesday that South Korea had had little anti-drone training since 2017, when his liberal predecessor Moon Jae-in was sworn in.
In an apparent effort to blame the allegedly lax air defense system on Moon’s policy of engagement with North Korea, Yoon said, “I think our people must have seen how well a policy based on good faith and the (peace) agreements of the North would be dangerous. ”
Yoon’s comments sparked a backlash from Moon’s liberal opposition Democratic Party, which accused the president of trying to blame his government’s failed security policy on someone else. another.

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