North Korea orders strengthening of country's defence capabilities

North Korea orders strengthening of country's defence capabilities

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered a strengthening of the country's defence capabilities, according to a key party meeting with top military officials on Friday amid concerns about a potential nuclear test.

The meeting has been closely watched due to growing speculation that Pyongyang could conduct its first nuclear test in five years, which U.S. and South Korean officials have said could take place at any time now.

Kim presided over the three-day Enlarged Meeting of the 8th Central Military Commission that ended on Thursday, where top officials examined and approved an important issue of providing a military guarantee for further strengthening the country's war deterrent, official KCNA media said.

The KCNA report did not specifically mention North Korea's nuclear or ballistic missile programme, but Ri Pyong Chol, who has been leading the North's missile development, was elected as vice-chairman of the powerful Party Central Military Commission.

Kim stressed the need for the entire army to consolidate in every way the powerful self-defence capabilities for overwhelming any hostile forces, KCNA said.

North Korea made a rare mention of revising its war plans and decided to bolster the operational duties of its frontline units with an important military action plan during the meeting. State media released a picture of the North's top officials in a meeting with a map of what appeared to be the east coast of the Korean Peninsula on Thursday.

In April, Kim called for the country's military to bolster their strength in every way to annihilate the enemy. North Korea has tested a number of ballistic missiles this year, including massive intercontinental ballistic missiles, ICBMs new hypersonic missiles, and a short-range missile designed for tactical nuclear weapons.