SEOUL, South Korea: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un outlined the nation’s plans for 2024, signaling heightened military ambitions and a shift away from seeking reconciliation with South Korea. Kim’s remarks, delivered during a five-day ruling party meeting, highlighted concerns about the deteriorating situation on the Korean peninsula.
In a significant departure from previous diplomatic posturing, Kim declared that the possibility of war breaking out on the Korean peninsula is imminent due to what he termed as “reckless moves by the enemies.”
The leader expressed his discontent with the persisting crisis situation on the peninsula, attributing it to actions by Seoul and Washington. Inter-Korean relations have soured as a result of increased defense cooperation between South Korea and the United States in response to North Korea’s record-breaking series of weapons tests throughout the year.
Kim’s speech precedes a crucial year with pivotal elections in both South Korea and the United States. Analysts speculate that North Korea may maintain a campaign of military pressure to leverage the outcomes of these elections, particularly in the U.S. presidential race set for November.
While the Biden administration has expressed openness to talks, it has concurrently imposed new sanctions in response to North Korea’s prohibited missile tests. The region has witnessed an escalation in military activities, including drills and the deployment of additional military assets by the U.S. near the Korean peninsula. Kim condemned these actions, stating that South Korea has transformed into a “forward military base and nuclear arsenal” for the United States.
Notably, Kim signaled a departure from seeking reconciliation and reunification with South Korea, emphasizing that North-South relations are now characterized by hostility and the status of two belligerents at war. He portrayed South Korea as a colonized state heavily reliant on the U.S. for national defense and security.
In addition to military objectives, Kim outlined economic goals for 2024. These include nurturing sectors such as metals, chemicals, power, machinery, railway transportation, and modernizing wheat facilities to enhance production. A key policy goal is to invest in science and technological research at schools, emphasizing the importance of advancing education in these critical areas.
Military technology remains a focal point for North Korea, with plans to launch three new spy satellites, build military drones, and strengthen the nuclear arsenal. The country’s successful launch of its first military spy satellite in the past year marked a significant achievement. Kim announced intentions to expand the fleet of spy satellites, a capability previously unavailable to North Korea.
The leader highlighted the nation’s commitment to further military development, including the strengthening of nuclear and missile forces, expanding the submarine fleet, and developing electronic warfare capabilities. The announcement also included plans to build unmanned drones, showcasing North Korea’s determination to enhance its military capabilities.
As geopolitical tensions persist and North Korea asserts its military ambitions, the international community closely watches the developments in the region. The outcomes of the upcoming elections in South Korea and the United States are expected to play a crucial role in shaping the future dynamics of the Korean peninsula.