North Korea to launch new satellites, build drones as it warns war inevitable


PRESSING FORWARD

Kim said the return of such weapons had completely transformed South Korea into a “forward military base and nuclear arsenal” of the United States.

“If we look closely at the confrontational military actions by the enemy forces … the word ‘war’ has become a realistic reality and not an abstract concept,” Kim said.

Kim said he has no choice but to press forward with his nuclear ambitions and forge deeper relations with other countries that oppose the United States. North Korea has deep ties with both China and Russia.

“North Korea is preparing for further escalation of tension with Washington and Seoul, for at least a year or more, and its hard line policies are likely to be accompanied by efforts for dialogue as well ahead of the US election,” Yang Uk, an analyst at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, said.

“Kim is building on his success of the spy satellite to do three more because he knows satellite capabilities are powerful targeting tool for better nuclear command and control.”

South Korea holds a parliamentary election in April that could impact the domestic and foreign agenda for conservative President Yoon Suk Yeol, who has maintained a hawkish stance toward Pyongyang.

South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) warned on Thursday that “there is a high possibility that North Korea could unexpectedly conduct military provocations or stage a cyberattack in 2024, when fluid political situations are expected with the elections”.

Pyongyang has now ruled out the possibility of unifying with South Korea, and the country must fundamentally change its principle and direction toward South Korea, Kim said.

“North-South relations are no longer a kinship or homogeneous relationship but have completely become a relationship between two hostile countries, two belligerents at war,” he said, calling the South a colonised state completely dependent on the United States for national defence and security.

Both Yoon’s ruling party and the opposition democratic party slammed the Sunday report and urged North Korea to return to dialogue for peace talks.

“If North Korea repeats hostile acts, we will respond strongly using all means and methods … If the Kim Jong-un regime misjudges the situation and makes a wrong decision, the Republic of Korea will definitely correct it based on its overwhelming power,” the ruling People Power Party said in a commentary.

Kim also promised to develop the economy, including the metals, chemicals, power, machinery and railway sectors, while modernising wheat facilities to boost production.

One key policy goal is to invest in science and technological research at schools, he said.



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