North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pushed for war readiness while calling for more military drills at the meeting of the central military commission of the ruling Workers’ Party, state media reported Tuesday.
In the meeting on Monday, presided over by Kim, military officials discussed “major military and political tasks” for this year and the “long-term issues concerning the orientation for army building,” according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
The meeting comes just ahead of the 75th founding anniversary of the Korean People’s Army on Wednesday. North Korea is widely expected to stage a massive military parade to mark the occasion.
Standoff in Korean peninsula
Kim’s statement at the meeting also alludes to the recent developments in the Korean Peninsula, with the reclusive kingdom objecting to the expanding military drills between the United States and South Korea.
Last week, North Korea threatened to counter US military moves with the “most overwhelming nuclear force.” This followed news that the US is planning to deploy more advanced military assets like bombers and aircraft carriers to the region.
Pyongyang criticized the military exercises, stating that they have reached a critical limit and pose a threat of transforming the peninsula into a “huge war arsenal and a more critical war zone.”
Last year, North Korea conducted a record number of military tests firing more than 70 ballistic missiles. These comprised of nuclear-capable weapons with the ability to hit targets in South Korea or reach the mainland of the US.
North Korean hackers steal millions
Meanwhile, a United Nations report stated that North Korea stole more cryptocurrency assets than ever in 2022. It also accused the cyber criminals linked to the hermit kingdom of targeting the networks of foreign aerospace and defense companies.
It has been alleged that North Korea uses cyberattacks to fund its nuclear and missile programs.
The report tabled to a UN Security Council committee stated that North Korean-linked hackers stole crypto assets worth $630 million (€586.8 million) to $1 billion.
North Korea has previously denied allegations of hacking or other cyberattacks.
The monitors said most cyber attacks were carried out by groups such as Kimsuky, Lazarus Group and Andariel, and controlled by North Korea’s primary intelligence bureau — the Reconnaissance General Bureau.
Another North Korean-linked group known as HOlyGhOst was reported to have “extorted ransoms from small- and medium-sized companies in several countries by distributing ransomware in a widespread, financially motivated campaign.”
The report also mentioned that Pyongyang continued producing nuclear fissile materials at its facilities, lending credence to the US assertion that North Korea is gearing up to carry out a seventh nuclear test.
ss/wd (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)