Kim calls for boosting North Korean defense capabilities

Seoul, June 11 (EFE).- North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has called for boosting “national defense capability” in the face of further ‘aggravation’ on the Korean Peninsula.

Kim launched the message on Friday at the close of this key plenary meeting to decide organizational issues and political priorities of the regime held at a time marked by the upturn in tensions in the region and by the wave of possible Covid-19 infections in the North, state media said Saturday.

The North Korean leader “stressed the need to steadily direct great efforts to strengthening the national defense capability,” according to KCNA.

“The current security environment of the country is very serious and the surrounding situation carries a danger of being further aggravated. This urgently calls upon the DPRK to attain the goal of bolstering the national defense capability as soon as possible,” Kim said, reported KCNA, adding that he reaffirmed the principle of fighting “power for power.”

These guidelines come in the wake of Pyongyang’s record 18 missile tests so far this year, and after successive signs detected by Washington and Seoul in North Korean nuclear facilities that point to an imminent nuclear test, which would be the first since 2017.

During the plenary session of the sole party, Choe Son-hui was appointed new foreign minister. He had been deputy foreign minister and was previously in charge of nuclear weapons issues and negotiations with the United States.

Foreign Minister Ri Son-gwon will now be in charge of inter-Korean relations, according to KCNA.

Kim also referred to the “severe health crisis” caused by Covid-19, before which he asked to “remedy the shortcomings and evils in the anti-epidemic work.”

He also pointed out the “need and urgency to strengthen the country’s foundations for public health” and to analyze the “shortcomings” detected during the moment of “maximum emergency,” after the regime confirmed on May 12 for the first time the presence of Covid-19 on its territory.

“Only when the anti-epidemic policy is enforced in a strict, scientific and advanced way, can it prove successful,” said Kim, who called for steady improvement of “anti-epidemic system and methods.”

The hermetic regime, which has been rejecting the vaccine shipments proposed by South Korea and the Covax facility, reported 42,810 new possible infections this Saturday, bringing the total to 4.39 million possible infections. North Korean media did not offer additional data on deaths. EFE


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