Kim Jong Un calls for strong fighting capabilities

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for greater war fighting capabilities against the United States and South Korea, state media reported.

His defence ministry vowed to respond to ongoing military drills it views as an invasion rehearsal by its rivals.

During a visit to a western operational training base on Wednesday, Mr Kim said the military must “steadily intensify the actual war drills aimed at rapidly improving its combat capabilities for perfect war preparedness”, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

He said the heightened readiness is required to “contain the constant threat of the enemies with overwhelming force”, KCNA said.

North Korea
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, centre, visits a training base in North Korea (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service/AP)

Mr Kim has previously made calls for a stronger military numerous times, but his latest demand came two days after North Korea’s defence ministry threatened to conduct unspecified ”responsible military activities” because South Korean-US military drills were allegedly getting more undisguised in their attempt for invading the North.

South Korean and US militaries began their 11-day annual computer-simulated command post training and a variety of field exercises on Monday.

This year’s drills were to involve 48 field exercises, twice the number conducted last year, add the countries have said their drills are defensive in nature.

North Korea has reacted to previous South Korean-US military exercises with missile and other weapons tests.

Animosities on the Korean Peninsula remain high in the wake of North Korea’s barrage of missile tests since 2022. Many of the tests involved nuclear-capable missiles designed to attack South Korea and the mainland US.

This year, North Korea has performed six rounds of missile tests. The US and South Korean forces have responded by expanding their training exercises.

Experts say North Korea likely believes a bigger weapons arsenal would increase its leverage in future diplomacy with the United States. They say North Korea would want to win extensive sanctions relief while maintaining its nuclear weapons.

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