North Korea held the 6th enlarged meeting of the 8th Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) on Monday, according to Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), one of the North’s main state-controlled media. Central Military Commission meetings were normally convened once or twice a year in the past, but the North has already held three meetings consecutively since February of this year, part of Pyongyang’s aggressive military gestures toward Seoul and Washington.
“The enlarged meeting clearly understood the serious present security situation in the Korean Peninsula that the aggressive military policy and actions of the U.S. imperialists and the South Korean puppet traitors are emerging as a threatening entity, and discussed important military issues arising in making the country’s defense capacity and war preparations more perfect,” KCNA said.
In the past weeks, South Korea and the United States conducted extensive joint military drills, including deploying U.S. strategic assets in the region to strengthen alliance capabilities against the growing aggression of North Korea. Pyongyang deems the South Korea-U.S. joint military drills to be one of the so-called “hostile policies” that must be dropped before a return to diplomacy. The North has vehemently denounced the drills while warning it will take corresponding measures. However, as South Korea and the United States have clearly shown their strong willingness to keep conducting the scheduled or necessary drills in response to North Korean missile launches, Pyongyang appears to have decided to maximize the fear of security uncertainty on the Korean Peninsula so as to make the South and the U.S. voluntarily halt the drills as a concession.
“The meeting made an in-depth analysis of the present situation in which the U.S. imperialists and the South Korean puppet traitors are getting ever more undisguised in their moves for a war of aggression, and raised it as an indispensable requirement to make the military option of the DPRK clearer and make thoroughgoing preparations for switching to powerful practical action,” KCNA said (DPRK refers to the formal name of North Korea, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea). “It discussed practical matters and measures for machinery to prepare various military action proposals that no means and ways of counteraction are available to the enemy and decided on the relevant resolutions by a unanimous approbation.”
During the meeting, Kim Jong Un, the supreme leader of North Korea, “stressed the need to expand the DPRK’s war deterrence being strengthened with increasing speed on a more practical and offensive.” Kim also once again stressed his will to use nuclear weapons as an offensive means when necessary.
According to the KCNA report, a map of South Korea appeared behind Kim and his military officers, opening the possibility that the attendees were having discussions on how to neutralize certain key military areas of the South in a hypothetical conflict.
Due to North Korea’s repeated bluffing and incessant threats, South Koreans have become insensitive to such rhetoric, leading them to take a hawkish stance on North Korea issues. More South Koreans are urging the government to develop its own nuclear weapons to confront the nuclear and missile development of North Korea.
Starting from April 7, North Korea has not responded to daily communication calls through the joint liaison hotline. In order to keep communication lines open, the officials of both countries typically hold daily opening and closing calls at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. through the hotline. However, the North has not been responding to the South’s calls.
There could be technical reasons for the North being unresponsive over the South’s calls for the past few days. Considering the timing of the North’s state media report on the meeting of the Central Military Commission and the disconnection of the hotline, however, Seoul and Washington are closely monitoring the North’s movements. The Day of Sun (the birthday of Kim Il Sung, the founder of North Korea and the grandfather of Kim Jong Un) is scheduled on April 15, and North Korea often celebrates such events with military displays.