North Korea's Kim Jong-un holds talks on increasing 'nuclear war deterrence'

North Korea discussed new policies for increasing its “nuclear war deterrence” during a military meeting presided over by leader Kim Jong-un, state news agency KCNA reported on Sunday.

KCNA did not specify what the nuclear deterrence entailed, but said that “crucial measures” were taken at the meeting “for considerably increasing the firepower strike ability of the artillery pieces of the Korean People’s Army”.

“Set forth at the meeting were new policies for further increasing the nuclear war deterrence of the country,” the agency reported.

Its said discussions at the Central Military Commission meeting centred on “putting the strategic armed forces on a high alert operation” in line with the “building and development of the armed forces of the country”.

If the meeting, the date of which was not given, occurred in the past few days, it marks Kim’s first public appearance in almost three weeks, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.

In April, rumours swirled about Kim’s health after he was conspicuously absent from a mid-month celebration for the birthday of his grandfather, only to turn up weeks later at the opening of a fertiliser factory.

News of North Korea’s nuclear discussions came after it emerged that security officials in US president Donald Trump’s administration had discussed holding the first US nuclear test since 1992 as a potential warning to Russia and China.

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the US-based Arms Control Association, told the Washington Post that such a decision would likely disrupt negotiations with Kim, “who may no longer feel compelled to honour his moratorium on nuclear testing”.