N. Korea’s Kim calls for ‘offensive security measures’ at party meeting

Kim Jong-un stresses the need to ensure sovereignty and security of the country. (Reuters pic)

SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called for “positive and offensive measures” to ensure security at a ruling party meeting on Sunday ahead of a year-end deadline he has set for denuclearisation talks with the United States, state media KCNA said on Monday.

Kim convened a meeting of top Workers’ Party officials on Saturday to pore over important policy matters amid rising tension over his deadline for Washington to soften its stance in stalled negotiations aimed at dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes.

During a second-day session, Kim suggested action in the areas of foreign affairs, the munitions industry and armed forces, stressing the need to take “positive and offensive measures for fully ensuring the sovereignty and security of the country,” KCNA said, without elaborating.

Kim discussed state management and economic issues, including measures to improve agriculture, science, education, public health and the environment, it said, as the country’s economy has been hit by international sanctions over its weapons programmes.

He “presented the tasks for urgently correcting the grave situation of the major industrial sectors of the national economy,” KCNA said.

The meeting was still underway, KCNA said.

North Korea has urged Washington to offer a new approach to resume negotiations, warning that it may take an unspecified “new path” if the United States fails to meet its expectations.

US military commanders said the move could include the testing of a long-range missile, which North Korea has suspended since 2017, along with nuclear warhead tests.

Washington would be “extraordinarily disappointed” if North Korea tests a long-range or nuclear missile, White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said on Sunday, vowing to take appropriate action as a leading military and economic power.

The United States had opened channels of communication with North Korea and hoped Kim would follow through on his denuclearisation commitments he made at summits with US President Donald Trump, O’Brien said.