(by CHAD O’CARROLL, NK News Pro, 26 AUGUST 2013) Kim Jong Un made a “significant decision” to protect the sovereignty and safety of the country at an “enlarged” meeting of North Korea’s top military commissions, state media said on Monday.
Practical measures for bolstering combat and defensive capabilities were decided and guidelines issued to promote Songun military first policy, the Rodong Sinmun said, adding that an unspecified “organizational issue” was also discussed.
The meeting took place amid North Korea’s 53rd annual Songun Day anniversary – designed to underscore the importance of country’s military-first ideology – and ongoing ”Ulchi Freedom Guardian” joint U.S.-ROK military drills in South Korea.
Although no further details of the meeting were published, Daniel Pinkston of the International Crisis Group told NK News, “I think it’s a strong signal that another missile launch or nuke test could be in the works…If I were a betting man, I’d say within next 2-3 months”. “I see this as a very bad sign, it’s very similar to the meeting earlier this year before the nuke test,” Pinkston added.
North Korea’s powerful Central Military Commission last held an “enlarged” meeting in February 2013, approximately ten days before Pyongyang tested its third nuclear device. The announcement of that meeting was highly unusual, and perhaps unprecedented and came immediately prior to joint U.S.-ROK naval drills.
But despite similarities with the February meeting, Australian National University North Korea researcher Leonid Petrov told NK News that the importance of the Songun Day meeting should not be overestimated as the military commissions involved are “only responsible only for coordinating the work of Party organisations within the Korean People’s Army”.
“Even its enlarged meetings cannot match the power of the National Defence Commission, which is also chaired by Kim Jong Un, and simply deals with ideological issues in the Korean People’s Army”.
Petrov pointed out that the timing of the meeting suggested it was more likely to have been held to plan festivities for the forthcoming 65th anniversary of the DPRK, on September 9…