North Korea's military has said it will expand and intensify its military drills to "
prepare for war
", state media reported on Tuesday (February 7th) ahead of a major military parade. .
The pledge was made at a meeting held on Monday under the leadership of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, following joint air exercises by South Korea and the United States last week.
prepare for war
On the agenda was "
the constant expansion and intensification of operations and combat exercises of the Korean People's Army (...) in order to strictly perfect the preparation for war
", according to the agency. official KCNA.
At the same time, private satellite images suggest that “
significant preparations for a
military parade” are underway in the capital Pyongyang, ahead of national holidays which will take place in February.
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On February 8, North Korea celebrates the anniversary of the founding of its armed forces, and on February 16, the birthday of Kim Jong-il, father and predecessor of the current North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un. .
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Tuesday it was closely monitoring the areas surrounding the Pyongyang military training ground, adding that it had seen a "
sharp increase in personnel and vehicles
" there in recent days.
Seoul and Washington last week held aerial drills with strategic bombers and stealth fighter jets, angering Pyongyang, which said such maneuvers could "
trigger an all-out confrontation
This show of force by the two allied powers comes after US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and his South Korean counterpart announced increased security cooperation against Pyongyang.
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For North Korea, which sees the aerial maneuvers as rehearsals for an invasion of its territory, Seoul and Washington's decision to step up their joint drills crossed "
an extreme red line
", the North's minister said. -Korean Foreign Affairs.
South Korea's Defense Ministry said on Monday that a North Korean balloon had passed through its airspace over the weekend, but concluded it did not pose a threat.
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It was believed to be a weather balloon, Yonhap news agency reported, citing officials.
The Ministry of Defense said it had taken "
" without giving further details.
On Saturday, Washington shot down a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon, with Beijing saying it was a civilian craft that had accidentally entered US airspace.
Strengthen the army
According to Hong Min, a researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification, a Seoul-based research organization, Monday's meeting of North Korean brass was meant to underscore the country's readiness for upcoming joint military exercises and at war.
Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, added that the meeting signaled Pyongyang's determination to "
aggressively strengthen its military
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The North Korean leader had called in early January for an " exponential increase
in North Korea's
nuclear arsenal ", including the mass production of tactical nuclear weapons and the development of new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
Kim Jong-un also said his country must "
massively strengthen (its) military strength
" in 2023 in response to "
worrying military maneuvers by the United States and other hostile forces