File image of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un during a military parade
U.S., South Korea Hold Joint Naval Drills As North Korea Plans Nuclear Test Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Kim Jong-Un vowed to ramp up nuclear arms in the face of threats over North Korea’s sovereignty. During a meeting with his party on Friday, Kim defended his weapons build-up as his rightful exercise to self-defense. The North Korean leader asserted his accelerated weapons development amid heavy criticisms from the United States, the West and neighboring South Korea and Japan over its nuclear diplomacy.

According to the Associated Press, Kim’s announcement did not come with any specific plans regarding further testing activities, despite speculations from the U.S. of another nuclear test launch any time soon. The plenary meeting held amongst the ruling Workers’ Party Central Committee wrapped up last week as it reviewed the country’s state affairs in dealing with efforts to curb a concerning Covid-19 outbreak. North Korean state media KCNA stated that its leader affirmed his intent with the ruling party that he would use “power for power” to fight any threats to its sovereignty.

"The right to self-defense is an issue of defending sovereignty, clarifying once again the Party's invariable fighting principle of power for power and head-on contest," Kim said.

As the meeting progressed, Kim also named his key nuclear negotiator, Choe Sun Hui as foreign minister and went on to say he was hell-bent on going forward with further “militant tasks” with his armed forces and military scientists. Despite the country’s Covid restrictions, Kim desperately pursues his economic goals as the leader tries to convey his stance of being accepted as a nuclear power and negotiate economic and security concessions.

His new foreign minister is considered to be among the North’s most powerful women alongside Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong. Choe takes the place of another North Korean hardliner Ri Son Gwon who is now Kim’s newly appointed mouthpiece for South Korea.

Meanwhile, South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup along with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin expressed their condemnation of the North’s ongoing military activities as they prepare for a possible nuclear test launch. Both officials met on the sidelines during a security conference in Singapore on Saturday and agreed to expand their scope and scale in conducting combined military exercises between South Korea and the United States. Washington said it will continue to keep a close watch on any impending threats and possibilities of a nuclear launch test by the North Korean government.

A file image of North Korea's military parade
People watch a television broadcast showing a file image of North Korea's military parade at the Seoul Railway Station on May 04, 2022 in Seoul, South Korea. An unidentified projectile was fired by North Korea towards the East Sea according to reports from South Korea's military. Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

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