North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has plans to ramp up military actions in 2024.
Kim said he would intensify weapons tests and build up the country’s nuclear stockpile.
Experts say the moves are meant to help ease sanctions should Donald Trump return as president.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to launch three additional military spy satellites, produce more nuclear materials, and introduce modern attack drones in 2024, as he called for “overwhelming” war readiness to cope with US-led confrontational moves, state media reported Sunday.
Kim’s comments, made during a key ruling Workers’ Party meeting to set state goals for next year, suggest he’ll intensify a run of weapons tests ahead of the US presidential elections in November.
Observers say Kim believes a boosted nuclear capability would give him another chance to launch high-stakes summit diplomacy with the US to win sanctions relief if former President Donald Trump returns to the White House.
During the five-day meeting that ended Saturday, Kim said moves by the United States and its followers against North Korea have been unprecedented this year, pushing the Korean Peninsula to the brink of a nuclear war, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.
“The grave situation requires us to accelerate works to acquire overwhelming war response capabilities and thorough and perfect military readiness to suppress any types of provocations by the enemies at a stroke,” Kim said, according to KCNA.
Kim set forth plans to launch three more military spy satellites next year in addition to the country’s first reconnaissance satellite launched in November. He underscored the need to establish “a reliable foundation” to increase North Korea’s number of nuclear weapons, an apparent reference to facilities to produce fissile materials like weapons-grade plutonium and highly enriched uranium.
Kim also ordered authorities to enhance submarine capabilities and develop various types of modern unmanned combat equipment, such as armed drones, according to KCNA.
“Pyongyang might be waiting out the US presidential election to see what its provocations can buy it with the next administration,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul.
The North Korean leader has been attempting to build up and modernize the country’s weapons stockpile, including his nuclear weapons arsenal. And recently, the country has turned to Russia to help make that happen.
Kim visited Russian President Vladimir Putin in September for a six-day trip, where Putin gifted Kim five attack drones and a reconnaissance drone — violating United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Business Insider previously reported that the relationship between Putin and Kim could also prove advantageous in building up North Korea’s aging air force, whose technological advancements have been stalled by international sanctions placed on the country over its nuclear weapons program.
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