North Korea talks on new army duties hint at deployment of nuclear weapons

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SEOUL, South Korea (TSWT) — North Korea discussed assigning additional operational tasks to its frontline military units at a key military meeting, state media said Thursday, a suggestion that the country might want to deploy nuclear weapons on the battlefield targeting its rival South Korea along the two countries. ‘ tense border.

The discussion comes as South Korean officials said North Korea had completed preparations for its first nuclear test in five years as part of its possible efforts to build a warhead to mount on short-range weapons capable of hit targets in South Korea.

At an ongoing meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Military Commission on Wednesday, leader Kim Jong Un and other senior military officers discussed “the work of further confirming the operational functions of units frontline of the Korean People’s Army and to change the operation plans,” according to the official Korean Central News Agency.

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Kim also ordered that steps be taken to “improve the operational capabilities of frontline units,” KCNA said.

In April, when North Korea tested a new type of tactically-guided weapon, he said the weapon had “great significance in significantly improving the firepower of first-class long-range artillery units. line, improving the efficiency of the operation of ( North Korea’s tactical nuclear weapons and diversifying their firepower missions.

His use of the words “tactical nukes” suggests that the weapon is likely a short-range weapon system armed with a nuclear warhead. Some experts said at the time that North Korea intended to deploy such weapons threatening key facilities in South Korea, including US military bases there.

Later in April, Kim said North Korea could use its nuclear weapons preemptively in the event of a threat, saying its nuclear weapons would “never be confined to the sole mission of war deterrence” in situations where the North faces threats outside its “fundamental interests”. This hinted at a possible escalating nuclear doctrine from North Korea that could further worry South Korea, Japan and the United States.

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Kim convened the Central Military Commission meeting earlier this week to confirm “crucial and urgent tasks” to expand military capabilities and implement key defense policies.

Cheong Seong-Chang, a senior analyst at South Korea’s private Sejong Institute, said North Korea is expected to conduct its seventh nuclear test after the meeting, saying its third nuclear test in 2013 also came days after a another meeting of the Central Military Commission.

Ahead of this week’s meeting, Kim has convened a Central Military Commission meeting a total of 16 times since he took power in late 2011, but this is the first time a commission meeting has been held for over two days, Cheong said.

Wednesday was the second day session of the commission meeting. KCNA said the committee is continuing to discuss the agenda items presented, indicating that the meeting will continue on Thursday.

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Earlier this year, North Korea tested a series of missiles whose potential ranges put both the continental United States and its Asian allies like South Korea and Japan within striking distance. Some experts say North Korea wants to modernize its weapons systems and strengthen its influence in future negotiations with the United States to secure sanctions relief and other concessions.

South Korean and US officials have warned North Korea to face consequences if it conducts a nuclear test. But divisions among the permanent members of the UN Security Council make the prospects of further punitive international sanctions against North Korea unclear. Russia and China have this year vetoed US-sponsored resolutions that would have increased sanctions, insisting Washington should focus on reviving dialogue.

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