Thousands of North Koreans Assemble for Rally to Back Kim Jong-un's Plans for Upgrading Military
© AP Photo / Jon Chol JinCitizens participate in a rally to pledge to thoroughly carry out the decision of the 4th Plenary Meeting of the 8th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea on the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)
© AP Photo / Jon Chol Jin
During the last Workers' Party Congress, the DPRK leader announced the need to develop a new plan for the country's economy, while also boosting its military potential. He, however, did not name the US as the key source of threat for North Korea as is usually the case.
Several thousand North Koreans have gathered in Kim Il-sung Square in the country's capital Pyongyang for a rally in support of the Workers' Party Congress and its decisions. The crowd, which reportedly consisted of farmers, factory workers, clerks, and students, maintained a semblance of social distancing coupled with across-the-board mask wearing, according to photos and videos of the rally.
At the Workers' Party Congress, which took place last week, in the final days of 2021, DPRK leader Kim Jong-un announced the need for a new five-year plan for the economy. He also stressed that the nation needs to expand its military might, ordering the development and manufacture of more sophisticated weapons systems.
In the wake of the congress, Kim Jong-un further stated during his New Year speech that 2022 would be the year of a "life-and-death" struggle.
The DPRK has been making steady advances in developing its defence industry over the past decade under Kim Jong-un. In 2021 alone North Korea boasted of testing several new types of armaments, including a submarine-launched ballistic missile and a hypersonic missile theoretically capable of penetrating air defences.
Pyongyang said it carried out the second test launch of its hypersonic missile on 5 January, with the projectile hitting a target 692 kilometres away. South Korea, however, challenged this statement expressing doubt that the DPRK managed to obtain the technology for hypersonic missiles. Only a few countries currently have it, including China – North Korea's main ally.