North Korean leader Kim Jong Un presided over a military meeting on Wednesday to discuss the country’s military and defense policies amid concerns of an imminent nuclear test. State media Korea Central News Agency reported the Enlarged Meeting of the Eight Central Military Commission (CMC) of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) had Kim stressing the importance of enhancing the frontline unit capabilities of the Korean People’s Army. 

This is the second Enlarged Meeting that brings together top military officials, the first of which was last held in June 2021. This year’s meeting has taken much longer compared to last year's which was held for only a day. It would seem that most of the discussions focused on the major agenda items on the table for discussion meant to align with Kim’s 5-year military modernization plan. Speculations of the talks also touched on the possible discussion of North Korea’s seventh nuclear test.

According to Al Jazeera, the meeting did not specify any plans nor did it mention any critical remarks directed at the United States and South Korea. Members could possibly discuss the military’s weapons development and deployment of such weapons systems recently seen with Pyongyang’s missile tests. North Korea so far has run launch tests for its hypersonic missile, a long-range cruise missile and its newest intercontinental ballistic missile. 

South Korea’s senior analyst, Cheong Seong- Chang from the Sejong Institute said North Korea’s fast-paced testing activity could be attributed to Kim’s intent of advancing his arsenal powers as a way to pressure the United States and their long-stalled nuclear diplomacy. This seems to clearly demonstrate that Pyongyang will not back down from the power games between Washington and its other western allies. 

“Just as Kim conducted a nuclear test on February 13, 2013, after holding his first Enlarged Meeting of the Central Military Commission of the WPK days before the nuclear test, the seventh nuclear test is expected to be taken place soon after this Enlarged Meeting,” Cheong said.

Meanwhile, South Korea successfully launched a satellite into orbit last Tuesday. The satellite was propelled with the use of its first homemade rocket. Experts say Kim may now also order his officials to launch a reconnaissance satellite test in the coming weeks as its countermeasure to South Korea’s latest move.

Kim Jong Un North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un before a meeting with US President Donald Trump on the south side of the Military Demarcation Line that divides North and South Korea, in the Joint Security Area (JSA) of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized zone (DMZ) on June 30, 2019. Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images