This undated picture released from the DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency on June 24, 2022 shows the Third Enlarged Meeting of the Eighth Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea at the party's central committee headquarters building in Pyongyang.
(STR / KCNA VIA KNS / AFP)
SEOUL – The Democratic People's Republic of Korea's eader Kim Jong-un ordered a strengthening of the country's defence capabilities, state media said on Friday, as he wrapped up a key party meeting with top military officials that came amid concerns about a potential nuclear test.
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The meeting has been closely watched due to growing speculation that Pyongyang could conduct its first nuclear test in five years, which US and the Republic of Korea's officials have said could take place at "any time" now.
Ri Pyong-chol, who has been leading the North's missile development, was elected as vice-chairman of the powerful Party Central Military Commission
Kim presided over the three-day Enlarged Meeting of the 8th Central Military Commission that ended on Thursday where top officials "examined and approved an important issue of providing a military guarantee for further strengthening the country's war deterrent," official KCNA media said.
The KCNA report did not directly mention the DPRK's nuclear or ballistic missile programme, but said Ri Pyong-chol, who has been leading the North's missile development, was elected as vice-chairman of the powerful Party Central Military Commission.
"(Kim) stressed the need for the entire army to … consolidate in every way the powerful self-defence capabilities for overwhelming any hostile forces," KCNA said.
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During the meeting, the DPRK also said it decided to bolster the operational duties of its frontline units with "an important military action plan."
State media on Thursday released a photo of the North's top officials in a meeting with a map of what appeared to be the east coast of the Korean Peninsula.
In April, Kim called on the country's military to "bolster up their strength in every way to annihilate the enemy."