Conflicts & War

Kim Jong-un visits weapons plants, calls South Korea ‘main enemy’

Seoul, Jan 10 (EFE).- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited factories of mobile short-range ballistic missile launchers (SRBM) and called South Korea the “main enemy” and ” most hostile state,” state media reported Wednesday.

These visits represent the second report of this type by state agency KCNA in the last week, after it said Friday that Kim visited a plant in Pyongsong of launchers for intercontinental missiles. They echo the same message that the leader has been sending since late 2023.

Kim was accompanied on his visits on Jan. 8 and Jan. 9 by Munitions and Industrial Department Director Jo Chun-ryong and his sister Kim Yo-jong, vice director of the propaganda department.

Two other key figures in the North Korean weapons program, Kim Jong-sik and Jang Chang-ha, were also present, as well as Defense Minister Kang Sun-nam, according to KCNA.

Although he “listed some defects recently shown in organizational work in arms production,” Kim was “satisfied” with the work in these plants.

He also harangued workers, saying the time has come “to define (South Korea), which for almost 80 years has been pursuing the worst of confrontations in order to overthrow our regime, as the most hostile state toward (North Korea.)”

“South Korea is our main enemy,” said Kim, who added that his country should not start a conflict unilaterally but will not avoid a war.

At the end of an important plenary session of the single party at the end of December, the North Korean leader said reconciliation and reunification with the south are impossible.

Pyongyang carried out artillery exercises last week around the western maritime border with South Korea for three days in a row after announcing in November that it was suspending compliance with a 2018 bilateral military agreement. This prohibited carrying out live fire exercises in these areas among other things.

Seoul responded with its own exercises and said it would also resume maneuvers in these areas.

After the failure of the 2019 denuclearization negotiations, Pyongyang has opted to modernize its army, reject offers of dialog and get closer to Beijing and Moscow, with whom it has exchanged weapons, while Seoul and Washington have reinforced their deterrence mechanisms and military cooperation. EFE

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