Dec 30, 2019

Kim Jong-un calls for "positive and offensive" security measures

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visiting a farm Sept. 30, 2017. Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un said during a meeting of the ruling Workers' Party Sunday that "positive and offensive measures" are needed to protect the country’s security and sovereignty, the state-run news agency KCNA reports.

Why it matters: Kim said in October that the U.S. had until the end of the year to propose new concessions in negotiations over North Korea's nuclear arsenal and warned the U.S. to not ignore the deadline.

"Emphasizing the need to take positive and offensive measures for fully ensuring the sovereignty and security of the country as required by the present situation, he indicated the duties of the fields of foreign affairs, munitions industry and armed forces of the DPRK."
— KCNA's report on Kim's meeting

Between the lines: This weekend's Central Committee plenary meeting is "being closely watched" amid concerns that Kim could fulfill his threat and "take a more confrontational approach by lifting a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests," AP notes.

The big picture: Satellite imagery this month confirmed the construction of a new structure at a factory near Pyongyang, where North Korea manufactures military trucks used as mobile launchers for long-range missiles.

  • North Korea has warned of a "Christmas gift" for the U.S., with the type of gift being dependant on what action the United States takes.
  • President Trump brushed off the threat by saying the American military would "deal with it very successfully."

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Kim Jong-un announces end to moratorium on nuclear weapon tests

Kim Jong Un giving his New Year's speech on Dec. 30, 2019. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said in a New Year's speech that his country would abandon a self-imposed moratorium on testing nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles, declaring that there "will never be denuclearization on the Korean peninsula" unless the U.S. drops its "hostile" policies, according to state media.

Why it matters: North Korea has not conducted a nuclear or long-range missile test in more than two years, hoping for a breakthrough in negotiations spurred by Kim's friendly personal relationship with President Trump, according to the New York Times. Trump has often touted this moratorium as a diplomatic achievement.

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Exclusive: Trump tells Kim Jong-un he wants to resume talks

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien tells Axios that the Trump administration has "reached out to the North Koreans" to ask them to resume diplomacy that has been all but dead since October.

Driving the news: O'Brien sat down with Axios at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Friday to talk about a range of national security challenges at the start of a new year.

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Trump's twin war threats

Photos: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images; Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images; Leader.ir/Pool/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

President Trump suddenly faces two global crises in North Korea and Iran — via Iraq — both with the real possibility of U.S. military action, if not war.

Why it matters: Trump has benefited from relative peace abroad and prosperity at home. But these twin challenges will truly test his diplomatic mix of bluster and buddying up to bad guys on the world stage. 

Go deeperArrowJan 1, 2020