North Korea Increasing War Readiness As Tensions Continue To Escalate

Dr. E.C. Beuck

The leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, has ordered the military of his country to step up their combat exercises in an effort to improve their readiness for a potential war. The move comes after significant weapon demonstrations aimed at threatening South Korea and its allies like the United States.

The command was given at a meeting of the ruling Worker’s Party’s Central Military Commission, with particular emphasis on the constant expansion and intensification of combat drills in particular, while also improving military affairs as a whole. A military parade celebrating the 75th anniverary of the founding of the Korean People’s Army is expected to show off recent advances in missiles technology in Pyongyang on Wednesday of this week.

Though the parade itself is not worrying, what it seeks to convey, that North Korea is continuing to expand military demonstrations and pursue the development of nuclear warheads as well as ballistic missile systems is beyond concerning. Indeed, given the recent record-breaking number of missile tests by North Korea this past year we might expect continued demonstrations to occur this year as well. In the meantime, the United States has also stepped up military drills in South Korea in an attempt to deter North Korea, as well as indicated efforts to expand joint exercises and cooperation with the military of South Korea itself.

Most concerning of all is how North Korea has threatened overwhelming nuclear force as a way to counter moves by the United States in South Korea, such as deployment of bombers and aircraft carriers to the region. In particular, Kim called for the mass expansion of nuclear warheads and production of tactical nukes to target South Korea, as well as intercontinental ballistic missiles to strike the mainland of the United States.

Despite the emphasis on military expansion, concerns about agricultural production and economic isolation are pressuring the regime and the people of North Korea significantly. We can hope that these pressures might bring the possibility of peaceful negotiations up in the future, despite talks with the United States having been stalled since 2019 during the Trump administration.

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Holding a PhD in Political Science, I write about current events and on political topics related to international relations, international law, conflict both between and within states, and the interactions between technology and politics.

Washington, DC

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