See More on Facebook

Analysis, Diplomacy

North Korea beefs up self-defense capabilities in military reorganization

The North have been making many changes ahead of talks.

Written by

Updated: December 23, 2019

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presided over a meeting of the top military decision-making body to accelerate the development of self-defense capabilities ahead of key events that will decide its national strategy, its state media reported Sunday.

Discussions on ways to bolster its military capabilities through organizational restructuring and personnel reshuffle were highlighted during the third expanded meeting of the seventh central military commission of the ruling Workers’ Party. Details on what measures were discussed were not disclosed.

“At the meeting, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un gave an analysis and briefing on the complicated internal and external situation and said that the meeting would decide on important organizational and political measures and military steps to bolster the overall armed forces,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said.

“It decided on important military issues and measures for organizing or expanding and reorganizing new units in conformity with the party’s military and strategic intention, changing the affiliation of some units and their deployment,” the report said.

North Korea appears to view military-related activities this year as yielding fruitful results and carried out restructuring of personnel and organizations in accordance with the results, such as newly developed short-range ballistic missiles, said Koh Yu-hwan, a professor at Dongguk University.

The country has test-fired a series of short-range projectiles since May. It also recently conducted two tests at its west coast satellite launch site, better known as the Dongchang-ri site, raising speculation that it is preparing to test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Compared to last year’s military meeting, the number of Cabinet members and party officials who took part in the event has decreased, indicating that military officers have expanded their presence through the reshuffle, according to Cheong Seoung-chang, vice president of Research Planning at the Sejong Institute.

“This difference shows that they had an important discussion on North Korea’s advancement of nuclear and missile capabilities,” he said.

With only 10 days remaining for the year to end, North Korea’s denuclearization is at a critical juncture as its nuclear talks with the US have not made any progress despite a year-end deadline set by the North’s leader Kim. He has warned of finding a “new way” if the US does not make acceptable concessions.

Its new way is expected to be clarified in the 5th Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers’ Party, a key meeting to decide core policies, which the regime had earlier said would convene later this month. The official announcement is expected to be made in Kim’s New Year’s address issued on Jan. 1.

Experts here expect Pyongyang to abandon nuclear diplomacy with Washington and pursue its economic development while seeking support from Russia and China.

“Although North Korea has not mentioned it directly, the content of the meeting indicates that its effort for denuclearization will be weakened,” Koh said.

In April 2018, Kim announced a new strategic line that focuses on economic and scientific development during a major speech at a plenum meeting of the Workers’ Party. He declared the successful completion of the “Byungjin Line,” unveiled in 2013, that stated that the North would develop its economy and nuclear arsenal simultaneously.

Meanwhile, the US has urged North Korea to stop provocations and return to the negotiating table following a series of weapons tests.

On Sunday, leaders of the US and Japan agreed to work together on North Korea’s issues. “President (Donald) Trump and Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe agreed to continue close communication and coordination, particularly in light of recent threatening statement issues by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said, referring to the official name of North Korea.

Enjoyed this story? Share it.

The Korea Herald
About the Author: The Korea Herald is the nation’s largest English-language daily and the country’s sole member of the Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia

Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis, Diplomacy

Rohingya Genocide Case: ICJ ruling today

In response to The Gambia’s seeking provisional measures to stop genocide against the Rohingyas in Myanmar’s Rakhine, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is set to deliver an order today. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is set to deliver an order today in response to The Gambia’s seeking provisional measures to stop genocide against the Rohingyas in Myanmar’s Rakhine. The top UN court, situated in The Hague, Netherlands and comprised of 15 judges, is scheduled to start delivering the order at 3:00pm (Bangladesh time). The Gambia filed the case with the ICJ, also known as the World Court, in November last year. The West African nation, which is predominantly Muslim, took the legal step on behalf of the Organisation for Islamic Coop

By Daily Star
January 23, 2020

Analysis, Diplomacy

No evidence of intent or plan to destroy Muslims or any other community in northern Rakhine: ICOE report

A report by the Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE)  has not found any evidence suggesting that these killings or acts of displacement were committed pursuant to an intent or plan to destroy the Muslim or any other community in northern Rakhine State. The ICOE’s Chairperson Rosario G. Manalo and party submitted the final report to President U Win Myint and State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in Nay Pyi Taw on 20 January. The government rejected the demands by the UN and western countries for allowing international independent investigation teams in the northern Rakhine. On 30 July, 2018, Myanmar President formed the ICOE with four members—two from home and the rest from abroad— to investigate allegations of human rights violations and related issues following the terrorist attacks in Rakhine State.

By Eleven Media Group
January 22, 2020

Analysis, Diplomacy

IMF cuts India’s growth rate to 4.8% citing slowdown in local demand, stress in NBFC sector

In a major setback for India on the economic front, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday slashed its growth rate to 4.8 per cent for the current fiscal year which is expected to rise to 5.8 per cent in 2020. The IMF attributed the slash in growth rate to the slowdown in demand in the domestic market and stress in the nonbank financial sector. “India’s growth is estimated at 4.8 percent in 2019, projected to improve to 5.8 percent in 2020 and 6.5 percent in 2021,” said IMF in a statement. The 5.8 per cent estimate in 2020 is down by 0.9 per cent from the previous estimate. The steep cut in India’s growth rate has affected the IMF’s projection on the world economy, which is now expected to expand 2.9 per cent in 2019 as compare

By The Statesman
January 21, 2020

Analysis, Diplomacy

Wuhan virus: 3rd death reported in China as cases soar past 200; new cases confirmed in Beijing, Shenzhen

There has been a dramatic increase of 136 cases of the mysterious Sars-like virus, including one death, in the Chinese city of Wuhan on Monday (Jan 20) as new cases were confirmed for the first time outside the city in Beijing and Shenzhen. The Chinese city of Wuhan on Monday (Jan 20) reported a dramatic increase of 136 cases of the mysterious Sars-like virus, including one death, as new cases were confirmed for the first time outside the city in Beijing and Shenzhen. The sharp spike in detected cases comes as travelling intensifies ahead of this weekend’s Chinese New Year holidays, sparking fears that the mass human movement co

By The Straits Times
January 20, 2020

Analysis, Diplomacy

China-US trade deal bullish news for both countries, rest of world

From Chinese state media. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Saturday that the China-US deal on the text of a phase-one economic and trade agreement serves as bullish news for both countries and the rest of the world. Speaking at a joint press conference with Slovenian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Miro Cerar, Wang said China has, as always, been opposed to settling economic and trade disputes by imposing tariffs as there is no winner in a trade war. China has also rejected the use of unilateral pressure as it violates the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), said Wang. He pointed out that following rounds of back-and-forth negotiations, China and the United States have agreed on the wording of a phase-one economic and trade agreement, and the US side has promised to phase out additional tariffs on Chinese products. The agreement demonstrates the spirit

By China Daily
December 16, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Biegun arrives in Seoul amid deadlock in NK-US nuclear talks

Pyongyang says it conducted “another crucial test” at Sohae site. US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun arrived in Seoul on Sunday for a “close coordination” with allies amid the deadlock in the denuclearization talks with Pyongyang just weeks before the communist regime’s year-end deadline. A day before, North Korea issued statements to announce that it had carried out “another crucial test” at a satellite launching site, warning the United States to “hold off” any action to “rattle” the regime. During his three-day trip here, the US special envoy is expected to meet with officials here to discuss on the

By The Korea Herald
December 16, 2019