By Elizabeth Shim | UPI |
SEOUL, March 27 (UPI) — Kim Jong Un is turning his attention to North Korea’s military following the breakdown of talks with U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam
Pyongyang’s state-controlled news agency KCNA and Rodong Sinmun reported Wednesday the North Korean leader called for a “golden age” in “military construction.”
Kim made the declaration during the fifth general meeting of lower-ranking military officers that include company commanders and political supervisors, according to state media.
“The general meeting is a great historic turning point in the development of our revolution,” state media said.
Calling the company command the “cell unit of the Korean People’s Army,” North Korea said they “illuminate” the “military construction accomplishments” of Kim’s predecessors: North Korea founder Kim Il Sung and his son, Kim Jong Il.
Kim Jong Un previously presided over the general meeting of company commanders in 2013. Kim’s presence at the meeting indicates he is adhering to a party-centered supervision of the military, rather than abiding by the “military-first” approach of his father, South Korean news service News 1 reported.
The reports come months after Kim ordered the rebuilding of the North Korean economy through the military in his New Year’s address.
The North Korean leader reportedly said at the general meeting he had longed to see his soldiers “even during visits to faraway foreign lands.”
Kim and Trump walked away from their second summit without a deal, but speculation is rising the two countries are meeting in Beijing for secret talks.
Yonhap reported Wednesday North Korea’s vice chair of international affairs Ri Su Yong had stayed overnight in Beijing, before leaving for Laos on Wednesday.
Ri’s stay in Beijing coincides with U.S. envoy on North Korea Stephen Biegun’s visit to the Chinese capital.
Biegun’s trip to China was not publicly disclosed this week.
A diplomatic source in Beijing told Yonhap U.S. and North Korean officials have made contact “several times” in Beijing.