North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered his military, the ammunition industry and the nuclear weapons sector to accelerate war preparations to confront what he described as unprecedented confrontational moves by the United States, state media said on Thursday.
Speaking about political directions for the new year at a key meeting of the country's ruling party on Wednesday, Kim also said that Pyongyang would expand its strategic cooperation with “independent, anti-imperialist” countries, KCNA reported.
“He (Kim) set military tasks for the People's Army, ammunition industry, nuclear weapons and civil defense sectors to speed up war preparations,” the agency said.
North Korea is working to expand its relations with Russia, among others, as Washington accuses Pyongyang of supplying Moscow with military equipment for use in its war with Ukraine, while Russia provides technical support to help the North develop its military capabilities.
Kim also presented economic goals for the new year during the meeting, calling it a “critical year” for achieving the country's five-year development plan, the report said.
“He explained…the important tasks for the new year that must be dynamically pushed forward in key industrial sectors,” and called for “stabilization of agricultural production at a high level.”
North Korea has suffered serious food shortages in recent decades, including famine in the 1990s, which were often the result of natural disasters. International experts have warned that border closures during the Covid-19 pandemic have worsened food security.
North Korea's crop production is estimated to have increased year-on-year in 2023 due to favorable weather conditions. But a Seoul official said the amount was still far short of what was needed to address the country's chronic food shortages.
The ninth plenary session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea opened on Tuesday, concluding a year during which the reclusive North enshrined nuclear policy in its constitution, launched a spy satellite and launched a new intercontinental ballistic missile.
The days-long meeting of party and government officials has been used in recent years to make major policy announcements. Earlier, state media published Kim's New Year's Day speech.
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