North Korea’s Kim Jong Un urges ‘active and offensive’ measures
SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for his military and diplomats to prepare unspecified "offensive" measures to protect the country's security and sovereignty, the North's state media said yesterday, before his end-of-year deadline for the Trump administration to make major concessions to salvage a fragile nuclear diplomacy.
Mr Kim during a ruling Workers' Party meeting on Sunday also "comprehensively and anatomically analysed" problems arising in efforts to rebuild the North's moribund economy and presented tasks for "urgently correcting the grave situation of the major industrial sectors", the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
The plenary meeting, which began on Saturday, is being closely watched amid concerns that Mr Kim could suspend his deadlocked nuclear negotiations with the US and take a more confrontational approach by lifting a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests.
The North has said the meeting, which will continue for at least another day, is intended for discussions on overcoming "manifold and harsh trials and difficulties". Mr Kim, who has said the North would pursue a "new path" if Washington persists with sanctions and pressure, is expected to announce major policy changes during his New Year's address.
The North's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper published photos of Mr Kim speaking from a podium as officials jotted down his comments.
"Emphasising the need to take positive and offensive measures for fully ensuring the sovereignty and security of the country as required by the present situation, (Kim) indicated the duties of the fields of foreign affairs, munitions industry and armed forces of the DPRK," the agency said in its English report, referring to North Korea's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The Korean-language report said he called for "active and offensive" measures.
"He stressed the need to reasonably straighten the country's economic work system and order and establish a strong discipline and presented the tasks for urgently correcting the grave situation of the major industrial sectors of the national economy."
It said Mr Kim stressed the need for a "decisive" increase in agricultural production and gave out instructions for improving science, education and public health standards.
A spokesman for South Korea's Unification Ministry said Seoul is watching the North Korean party meeting, but he did not speculate on what Mr Kim's call for active and offensive security measures would have meant. - AP