North Korea’s Kim Jong Un calls for military readiness amid rising tensions

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for the military’s readiness to respond to any provocation by enemies, state media said on Friday, after Pyongyang vowed to deploy stronger armed forces and new weapons on its border with the South.

Visiting the air force headquarters on Thursday to mark the country’s air men day, Kim rolled out operational strategic guidelines to improve the military’s readiness and war capabilities, KCNA news agency said.

The visit was followed by a stop at a fighter wing where the pilots staged an air show, it said.

“(Kim) highly evaluated the pilots’ tight readiness to perform air combat missions without a glitch regardless of any unfavourable settings,” KCNA said.

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North Korea last week successfully launched its first reconnaissance satellite, which it has said was designed to monitor US and South Korean military movements.

The United States and its allies have strongly condemned the launch as a violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions. Pyongyang has said it would launch more satellites, calling it an exercise of a right to self-defence.

South Korea has suspended part of an inter-Korean military deal in response to the satellite launch and stepped up surveillance along the heavily fortified border with the North, to which Pyongyang responded by vowing stronger armed forces and new weapons along the border area.

The United States on Thursday targeted North Korea with fresh sanctions over the satellite launch, designating foreign-based agents it accused of facilitating sanctions evasion.

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