Kim Jong-un is ramping up North Korea’s nuclear weapon program and is ordering the military to get the missiles “combat ready.”
North Korean military officials have been told that they should be prepared to execute his orders “at any time,” according to a high-ranking source.
Kim Jong-un issued the order this week just before the communist state celebrated the birthday of its founder, Kim Il-Sung, at an event called the Sun Festival.
According to one source close to the regime, it is unusual for such an order to be issued during this celebratory festival.
Reports suggest that a short-range ballistic missiles test could be conducted in coming weeks after a satellite image, published by 38 North, revealed a recently modified missile test barge had returned to a shipyard in a major military hub this week.
During weapons tests in March, short-range misses were fired into the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea. This was the first time after US President Joe Biden took office.
The UN Security Council has banned North Korea from testing such weapons, but the country has continued to ignore that order.
The Asan Institute for Policy Studies, a Korean think tank, published a concerning report stating that North Korea could have 200 nuclear weapons and several dozen intercontinental ballistic missiles by 2027.
The report also states that the United States and South Korea are “not prepared” to deal with the “developing North Korean nuclear weapon threat.”
Kim Jong-un “appears to be building a nuclear weapon force capable of enabling peninsula dominance” and the US and South Korea need to develop “enhanced” defenses to “sustain deterrence now,” the report says.
In January, North Korea revealed it had a new submarine launched ballistic missile, which the state media claimed is “the world’s most powerful weapon.”
According to the state-run Korean Central News Agency, Kim Jong-un says, “Our foreign political activities should be focused and redirected on subduing the US.”
After the missile tests in March, President Biden said “there will be responses” if North Korea chooses to “escalate.”