North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has hosted a military meeting to discuss new policies to bolster the country’s nuclear capabilities amid stalled denuclearisation talks with the US, according to state media KCNA.
- Measures were taken at the meeting “for considerably increasing the firepower strike ability”, state media said
- Denuclearisation negotiations with the US have made little progress since last year and even less since the coronavirus pandemic began
- Earlier this months, rumours that Kim Jong-un was gravely ill were put to bed when he made his first public appearance in 20 days
The meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party’s powerful Central Military Commission marked Mr Kim’s first public appearance in three weeks.
He has made an unusually small number of outings in the past two months amid coronavirus concerns.
There was intense speculation about Mr Kim’s health last month after he missed a key anniversary.
North Korea has imposed strict anti-coronavirus measures although it says it has no confirmed cases.
US-led negotiations aimed at dismantling North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs have made little progress since late last year, and especially since the global battle against COVID-19 began.
The meeting discussed measures to bolster armed forces and “reliably contain the persistent big or small military threats from the hostile forces”, KCNA said.
“Set forth at the meeting were new policies for further increasing the nuclear war deterrence of the country and putting the strategic armed forces on a high-alert operation,” it said.
“Taken at the meeting were crucial measures for considerably increasing the firepower strike ability of the artillery pieces.”
Rumours circulated in April that Mr Kim was seriously ill after he failed to attend commemorations for the 108th birthday of his grandfather, North Korea’s founder Kim Il-sung.
But state media reported on May 1 he had made his first public appearance in 20 days at a fertiliser factory near Pyongyang, effectively putting those rumours to bed.