Kim Seeks to Boost War Defenses, Cuts Link with South Korea.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for “practical and offensive” war capabilities as his state issued a fresh warning to the US and cut communications links with South Korea used to reduce tensions on their heavily armed border.
Kim told a meeting of military officials that he wanted to step up the country’s defenses due to “the ever-worsening security on the Korean Peninsula,” the official Korean Central News Agency reported Tuesday.
His state was determined to “strengthen the war deterrent of the country in every way to cope with the escalating moves of the US imperialists and the south Korean puppet traitors to unleash a war of aggression,” KCNA said. North Korea’s official media almost never refers to its neighbor by its formal name.
North Korea stepped up its pressure campaign by last week cutting off the communication links with South Korea. This year it has also ratcheted up tensions by testing new weapons and systems to deliver nuclear strikes against the US and its two allies that host the bulk of American troops in the region — South Korea and Japan.
That response also included a new undersea “Haeil” drone North Korea tested recently that it said could deliver a “radioactive tsunami” — a claim doubted by South Korea’s military.
The US, Japan and South Korea this month held joint anti-submarine drills in waters off the South Korean island of Jeju. North Korea responded by warning that the US and its “puppet state” allies were bringing grave danger to themselves and saying its nuclear arsenal was ready to be used at any time to deter the “war maniacs’ reckless moves.”
South Korean Unification Minister Kwon Young-se said the communication links were still silent on Tuesday. He expressed “strong regret” over North Korea’s “unilateral and irresponsible attitude,” warning in a statement that it would lead to further isolation and hardship for the country.
He also said North Korea has been illegally using South Korean facilities at the Kaesong Industrial Complex. The factory plant located just north of the border was once seen as a symbol of economic cooperation but has been shuttered for years due to political rancor.
The two Koreas, which are technically still at war, don’t have regular phone service. They set up hotlines in 2018 after a series of summits aimed at decreasing tensions. But since then, North Korea has shut the communications links in displays of anger. 
North Korea cut the lines from June 2020 for over a year in protest against South Korean activists who sent leaflets critical of Kim’s regime across the border by balloon. A few weeks later the lines were cut again for about two months in a show of anger from Pyongyang over joint military drills.

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