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.

About the Author: ANN’s Board member Mr Zaffar Abbas, Editor of Pakistan’s Dawn has won the 2019 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protest Journalists.

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

Internet healthcare serving homebound patients in China

Online consultations, pharmaceutical deliveries play vital role during outbreak. One recent rainy day, Wu Hong was waiting at the gate of her residential community in Wuhan, Hubei province. When a deliveryman with a bag of medicine came into sight, she was greatly relieved. Wu’s mother-in-law is a breast-cancer patient and needs to take medicine regularly. Wu’s father suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and inhalers have been in short supply. As the novel coronavirus epidemic grew more serious, Wu wasn’t permitted to take her family to the hospital for drug refills. She was left in a state of restless anxiety. On Feb 26, Wu and her husband saw a news segment on TV saying that the Wuhan government had enabled online reimbursement se

By China Daily
March 13, 2020

Analysis, Diplomacy

India’s Congress suffers setback after key leader defects to BJP

Move by Scindia and 22 legislators could trigger fall of Congress-led govt in central Madhya Pradesh state. The Congress has suffered a political setback following the resignation of Mr Jyotiraditya Scindia and 22 legislators in Madhya Pradesh state, deepening an existential crisis for a party that is struggling for political relevance in modern Indian politics. Mr Scindia, 49, an articulate leader, yesterday joined Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with legislators loyal to him expected to follow suit. The move could lead to the collapse of the Congress-led Madhya Pradesh government. That would give the BJP a chance to form the government in the Hindi heartland state, which is seen as key objective for

By The Straits Times
March 12, 2020

Analysis, Diplomacy

Chinese Red Cross teams aid Iran’s COVID-19 fight

Humanitarian group to help Iranians with containment measures that worked in China. Voices on the other end of the line cut in and out due to a poor phone connection as officials at the Red Cross Society of China’s headquarters in Beijing attempted to talk to staff members on the ground in Iran on Tuesday morning. As the signal stabilised, the latest developments in controlling the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic in Teheran streamed into a conference room packed with Red Cross managers. Zhou Xiaohang, head of a five-member team-four medics and a Farsi interpreter sent to assist with COVID-19 control in Iran-said Iranians are increasingly taking precautions such as wearing face masks and washing their hands more often.

By China Daily
March 11, 2020

Analysis, Diplomacy

Shortage of Masks, Handwash due to panic- buying: Leave some for everyone

Despite repeated calls by global and local health experts and warnings from government, panic-buying grips the country. Global health experts have warned against hoarding masks, handwash and sanitisers during the coronavirus outbreak as it could worsen the situation by depriving those who might need them. Despite this, panic-buying of these products in Dhaka has been triggered by news of the first confirmed coronavirus cases in the country. Across the capital, several pharmacies and superstores have been facing a shortage of masks, antiseptic liquids and sanitisers since Sunday afternoon. The demand for tissue papers has also almost doubled overnight, some retailers claimed. Many of the retail stores, super shops and pharmacies in Karwan Bazar, M

By Daily Star
March 10, 2020

Analysis, Diplomacy

MH17 trial in Malaysia begins today

It was reported that MH17 was shot down by a BUK missile while flying over the conflict-hit eastern Ukraine. The trial will begin today. All eyes will be on the District Court of The Hague at the Schiphol Judicial Complex (JCS) in Badhoevedorp as the criminal proceeding against four men accused of shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 begins. It was reported that MH17 was shot down by a BUK missile while flying over the conflict-hit eastern Ukraine. All 298 people on board, comprising 43 Malaysians, 193 Dutch nationals and 27 Australians, were killed. Members of the Malaysian media here to cover the start of the trial were given a briefing by press secretary for the judge, Yolande Wijnnobel, on what to expect at the start of the much-awai

By The Star
March 9, 2020

Analysis, Diplomacy

OPINION: ‘Righteous’ women

So who is this ‘righteous’ woman that would never dare join Aurat Marchers? ‘TIS the season to be righteous, or so many prominent Pakistanis on TV and social media along with the religious right would have us believe. Pakistan suffers from hypocritical moral policing at the best of times — in homes, colleges and universities, places of religious worship, and the workplace — but the trigger for the current frenzy is the impending Aurat Marches in many cities of the country. Given that these marches only began three years ago, one can only marvel at how rapidly they have gotten under the proverbial skin of their highly agitated opponents. Enough has been said and written about the wider context of the marches and why they threaten the

By ANN Members
March 6, 2020