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(2nd LD) N.K. leader presides over key party meeting to discuss increasing nuclear war deterrence

All Headlines 13:08 May 24, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with reaction from Cheong Wa Dae in last 2 paras)
By Koh Byung-joon

SEOUL, May 24 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presided over a Central Military Commission meeting and discussed "new policies for further increasing the nuclear war deterrence of the country," state media reported Sunday.

Also discussed at the enlarged meeting of the Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers' Party were important military steps and organizational and political measures to further bolster up the overall armed forces, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

"Set forth at the meeting were new policies for further increasing the nuclear war deterrence of the country and putting the strategic armed forces on a high alert operation in line with the general requirements for the building and development of the armed forces of the country," the KCNA said.

It did not elaborate what the "new policies" for nuclear deterrence were.

"Taken at the meeting were crucial measures for considerably increasing the firepower strike ability of the artillery pieces of the Korean People's Army," it added.

North Korean leader speaks during an enlarged meeting of the Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers' Party in this photo released by the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 24, 2020. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

Kim emphasized the importance of "realizing the party's monolithic leadership" over the military and specified "key issues to be constantly maintained in the military and political performance of the armed forces of the DPRK, and tasks and ways," the KCNA added.

Kim signed seven "orders" related military measures discussed during the meeting including those aimed at enhancing "the responsibility and roles of the major military educational institutions," reorganizing "the military commanding system" and promoting "the military ranks of commanding officers."

During the meeting, Ri Pyong-chol, known for his involvement in the North's arms development, was elected as vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, the KCNA said.

The KCNA did not say when the meeting was held, but state media usually report Kim's activity a day after it happens.

The meeting marked Kim's first public event since he visited a local fertilizer plant on May 1 after ending a 20-day absence from public view that sparked a slew of speculation over his health.

Kim last presided over a Central Military Commission meeting in mid-December.

South Korea's presidential office was examining the results of the Pyongyang meeting.

"A relevant government office is analyzing (the results)," a Cheong Wa Dae official told reporters briefly when questioned about Seoul's stance on the meeting's outcome.

North Korean leader presides over an enlarged meeting of the Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers' Party in this photo released by the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 24, 2020. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

kokobj@yna.co.kr

Kim Jong-un reappears in public and holds meeting on expanding nuclear capabilities


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