North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has pledged to strengthen the country’s defense capabilities, state media reported.
He “examined and approved an important issue of providing a military guarantee to further strengthen the country’s war deterrent,” the official North KCNA news agency said.
The announcement came at the end of a three-day meeting that was being closely watched by the West over concerns that the country could launch its first nuclear test in five years.
US and South Korean officials have warned that this could happen “at any time”.
“(Kim) emphasized the need for the entire army… to consolidate in every way the powerful capabilities of self-defense
for crushing any hostile forces,” KCNA said.
It added that Ri Pyong Chol, who leads missile development for North Korea, was chosen as vice chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission.
State media also released a photo of senior officials at a meeting with a map that appeared to be of the east coast of the Korean peninsula.
Earlier this month, North Korea fired eight short-range ballistic missiles in its eighteenth test of the year, teasing a reciprocal launch from the US and South Korea.
The North’s 2022 tests included new hypersonic missiles, intercontinental ballistic missiles and a short-range missile that could be designed for nuclear weapons.
diplomacy between North Korea and America has been at a standstill since 2019, when Donald Trump had two meetings with the North Korean leader.
President Joe Biden said he was open to talks with Kim Jong Un whether he is “sincere” and “serious”.
The US wants signs of disarmament from the secret dictatorship, but North Korea refuses to take such measures as long as sanctions remain at their current level.
North Korea is also dealing with a COVID outbreak – referred to by state media as its “biggest emergency incident” – after announcing its first official infections in May.