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Kim Jong-un stresses ‘aggressive measures’ for security

Seoul keeps close eye on NK, US continues to warn off provocations

South Korean authorities are closely monitoring North Korea, following North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s mention of “aggressive measures” to ensure sovereignty at the uncommonly long plenary meeting to the North’s ruling party. 

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is seen speaking at the party`s plenary meeting on Sunday in an image released by the Korean Central News Agency. Yonhap
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is seen speaking at the party`s plenary meeting on Sunday in an image released by the Korean Central News Agency. Yonhap

North Korean media reported Monday that Kim called for “proactive and aggressive measures to guarantee the country’s sovereignty and security befitting to the established political conditions,” on Sunday, the second day of the plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea. The KCNA also said that Kim discussed the roles the party organs concerned with overseas projects, the defense industry and military should play to that end.

The report went on to say that Kim provided detailed analysis of foreign and defense policies, and proposed “practical measures for strengthening the country’s independent economy.”

The lack of details on the North Korean report on the “aggressive measures” is fanning speculations that the North may be mulling resuming a hostile stance against Seoul and Washington.

A day earlier, the KCNA had reported that “important policy issues for achieving a new victory for our revolution” and the direction the North will take under current political circumstances were discusses on the first day of the meeting.

With the KCNA report stating “the plenary meeting continues,” speculation has risen that the meeting would continue Monday, making it the longest plenary meeting under Kim Jong-un’s rule, and the first to last more than two days since 1990.

The number of attendants, estimated based on photographs released by the North Korean media, has also piqued the attention of South Korean authorities.

The North Korean media has not specified the number of attendants, but South Korea’s Ministry of Unification said that the meeting appears to have gathered an unusually large number of officials.

“(The Unification Ministry can only) estimate that the scale seems to be close to that of the 2013 plenary session,” Unification Ministry spokesperson Lee Sang-min said, stressing that the exact number cannot be verified.

The plenary session, held in March 2013 was the first to be held under Kim Jong-un’s rule, saw the North announcing its two-track policy of seeking economic development alongside nuclear armament.

Lee declined to speculate on the significance of the duration of the meeting, saying that Seoul’s analysis will depend on the results of the meeting.

Seoul’s Ministry of National Defense took a similar position, with its spokesperson declining to speculate on the possibility of the North carrying out some form of military show of strength.

The US meanwhile continued to warn North Korea, with US national security adviser Robert O’Brien stating Sunday that Washington has “a lot of tools in our toolkit,” and that “additional pressure can be brought to bear on the North Koreans.”

“We’ll reserve judgment, but the United States will take action as we do in these situations,” O’Brien said in an interview with ABC.

“If Kim Jong-un takes that approach, we’ll be extraordinarily disappointed and we’ll demonstrate that disappointment.”

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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