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North Korea announces military goals for 2023

By Steven Ford
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects an intercontinental ballistic missile in Pyongyang in November. On Wednesday, Kim unveiled new military goals for his nation that analysts say suggest the nation will continue to test its ballistic missile capabilities. File Photo by Office of the North Korean Government Press Service/UPI
1 of 3 | North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects an intercontinental ballistic missile in Pyongyang in November. On Wednesday, Kim unveiled new military goals for his nation that analysts say suggest the nation will continue to test its ballistic missile capabilities. File Photo by Office of the North Korean Government Press Service/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 28 (UPI) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un unveiled new military goals for his nation as tensions continue to roil in the region.

Speaking at a meeting of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party, Kim said "strengthening self-defensive capabilities" will be a goal for the new year, but no specifics were given.

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Kim's comments were published in state media on Wednesday and come amid rising tensions on the Korean peninsula as South Korea and Japan have called for a more robust military presence in response to North Korea's unprecedented number of missile tests recently.

Kim told party leaders at the Sixth Enlarged Plenary Meeting of the party's 8th Central Committee that the globally isolated nation faces a "newly created challenging situation" in North Korea's ongoing "anti-enemy struggle."

Such rhetoric is seen by analysts as North Korea's attempt to counter Japan's plans to increase its defense spending, a move North Korea has likened to that nation's build-up to its offensive moves before World War II.

"Japan's foolish attempt to satiate its black-hearted greed - the building up of its military invasion capability with the pretext of a legitimate exercise of self-defense rights - cannot be justified and tolerated," a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman recently said about Tokyo's current military plans.

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His comments came days after North Korea this month fired two ballistic missiles over international waters. Both fell between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

Meanwhile, North Korea's relationship with South Korea remains as strained as ever, and earlier this week North Korean drones entered into South Korea air space for the first time in five years.

South Korea scrambled its air force to shoot down the drones but failed to do so after they disappeared from radar.

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