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N. Korean leader calls for increased combat posture

Dec. 1, 2023 - 10:07 By Yonhap
This photo, carried by North Korea's official Korea Central News Agency on Friday, shows the North's leader Kim Jong-un visiting the Air Force Command on the previous day on the occasion of the Day of Airmen. (Yonhap)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has called on the air force to enhance its combat posture to immediately respond to military threats by enemies, Pyongyang's state media reported Friday.

Kim's remarks came amid fresh tension on the Korean Peninsula following the launch of a North Korean military spy satellite.

South Korea partially suspended a 2018 inter-Korean military tension reduction deal in response to the satellite launch, condemned as a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

In a tit-for-tat, North Korea has said it would restore all military measures halted under the Comprehensive Military Agreement aimed at reducing cross-border tensions and preventing accidental clashes.

Kim said the air force should boost its combat readiness and war operational capabilities during a visit to the Air Force Command on Thursday on the occasion of the Day of Airmen that fell on Nov. 29, according the Korean Central News Agency.

"He set forth operational and tactical policies arising in putting the air force on a regular combat posture and increasing its capabilities to fight a war to the full so as to counter any military provocation and threat of the enemy immediately and powerfully," the KCNA said in an English-language dispatch.

His remarks are seen as aimed at strengthening the combat readiness by North Korea's air force, which is viewed as relatively weak among its conventional forces.

North Korea's air force has a total of 1,570 aircraft, including 810 combat aircraft, according to South Korea's 2022 defense white paper.

The white paper said North Korea is pushing to bolster its air defense capability through the development and deployment of new surface-to-air missiles as its introduction of new combat aircraft is limited.

On Thursday, Kim also visited a regiment of the first division of the air force with his daughter, believed to be named Ju-ae, and watched a demonstration flight at an observation post, the KCNA said. (Yonhap)