North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stressed the need to expand "practical and offensive" war deterrence measures in response to U.S.-South Korean joint military exercises, state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Tuesday. Photo by KCNA/EPA-EFE
SEOUL, April 11 (UPI) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for the expansion of the secretive regime's offensive military capabilities and reviewed frontline plans against neighboring South Korea, state media reported Tuesday.
Kim stressed the need for "more practical and offensive" war deterrence measures in the face of "ever-worsening security on the Korean Peninsula," Korean Central News Agency said.
The remarks came at a Monday meeting of the central military commission of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, KCNA reported.
The North Korean leader also "learn[ed] about the plan for offensive operation on the front," while state media released images of Kim gesturing at a large blurred map that appeared to depict South Korea.
The U.S. and South Korean militaries conducted large-scale joint military exercises over the past month, which the North condemned as preparations for an invasion.
Monday's meeting was held as Seoul and Washington "are getting ever more undisguised in their moves for a war of aggression," KCNA said.
Pyongyang responded to the drills with a flurry of weapon tests, including trial runs of its Haeil underwater nuclear attack drone, which state media claims is capable of producing a "super-scale radioactive tsunami."
The regime also unveiled new, smaller Hwasan-31 tactical nuclear warheads last month.
Amid the growing tensions, North Korea has not responded to routine calls from the South through an inter-Korean liaison channel for five straight days, Seoul's Unification Minister Kwon Young-se said Tuesday.
The South "expresses strong regret over North Korea's unilateral and irresponsible attitude, and strongly warns that it will eventually isolate and put itself in a predicament," Kwon said in a statement.
Kwon also criticized Pyongyang's illicit use of factories and equipment from a shuttered joint industrial park in the North.
The Kaesong Industrial Complex was home to South Korean companies that manufactured products using North Korean labor but was closed in February 2016. The Unification Ministry said last week that there were signs of activity at some factories.
"Despite numerous calls and warnings, the North is operating facilities in the [Kaesong Industrial Complex] without permission, infringing the property of South Korean companies," Kwon said.
"We clearly state that the North will be solely responsible for the consequences," he added.