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North Korean leader holds party meeting to bolster military

The meeting comes amid speculation that the country could abandon diplomacy with the US.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is reportedly looking to bolster the country’s military capability (Korean Central News Agency/AP)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is reportedly looking to bolster the country’s military capability (Korean Central News Agency/AP)

By Hyung-Jin Kim, Associated Press

Kim Jong Un has convened a key ruling party meeting to decide on steps to bolster North Korea’s military capability.

The meeting came amid speculation that the North could abandon diplomacy with the United States and launch either a long-range missile or a satellite-carrying rocket if Washington does not accept its demand for new incentives to salvage faltering nuclear negotiations by year’s end.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Kim presided over a meeting of the Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party.

It did not say when it took place.

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North Korea is set to hold a Central Committee meeting later this month (Korean Central News Agency/AP)

It cited Kim as saying the meeting would determine “important organisational and political measures and military steps to bolster up the overall armed forces … as required by the fast-changing situation and crucial time of the developing Korean revolution”.

According to KCNA, the gathering decided on “important military issues and measures for organising or expanding and reorganising new units … (and) changing the affiliation of some units and changing deployment of (others)”.

KCNA did not elaborate, but South Korean media speculated the meeting might have discussed the restructuring of military units over the deployment of new weapons that the North had test-launched in recent months, and what steps it will take in coming weeks.

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The North Korean leader with US President Donald Trump (Susan Walsh/AP)

North Korea is to hold a higher-level Workers’ Party gathering, a Central Committee meeting, later this month to discuss what it previously described as “crucial issues” in line with “the changed situation at home and abroad”.

Earlier this month, North Korea carried out two major tests at its long-range rocket and missile engine testing site.

Experts said they were engine tests that indicate that the North might be preparing for a banned satellite launch or an intercontinental ballistic missile test.

The nuclear diplomacy remains stalled since the second summit between Mr Kim and US President Donald Trump in Vietnam in February collapsed after Mr Trump rejected Mr Kim’s calls for broad sanction relief in return for partial disarmament steps.

PA

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