North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un reasserted his goal that the military step up “war preparations” on Friday, state media said.
The comment came as he toured a shipyard in Nampho bolstering his country’s navy and as his military conducted weapons tests by firing cruise missiles into the sea.
Kim has ramped up his country’s industrial efforts in recent months with the goal of building a nuclear-armed navy to counter what he perceives as threats from South Korea, the U.S. and Japan.
The navy “presents itself as the most important issue in reliably defending the maritime sovereignty of the country and stepping up the war preparations,” Kim said during an inspection of the naval facility, according to North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency.
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According to the Korean news agency, the warships being constructed in Nampho are related to a five-year military development plan set during a ruling party congress in early 2021. It did not specify the types of warships being built.
At the shipyard, Kim ordered workers to “unconditionally” complete the efforts within the timeframe of the plan that runs through 2025, KCNA said.
Kim previously revealed an extensive wish list of advanced military assets, which included nuclear-powered submarines and the ability to launch nuclear missiles from underwater.
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Kim Inae, a spokesperson for South Korea’s Unification Ministry, said it was the first time the ministry was aware of the North Korean dictator conducting a military inspection in Nampho.
“By making military threats routine, North Korea is trying to create a sense of insecurity among South Korean people to undermine trust in their government and to attract international attention to build an atmosphere in which its demands must be accepted to resolve the crisis on the Korean Peninsula,” she said
The comments were reported hours before North Korea’s military launched several projectiles into its western sea.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the U.S. and South Korean militaries confirmed the launch of multiple missiles and said they were analyzing the specific number of projectiles and would provide an assessment of their flights.
The launches were North Korea’s fourth round of cruise missile tests in 2024.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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