Kim Jong Un Announces Big Nuclear Plans for 2024, Culminating Ahead of US Presidential Election


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to launch three additional military spy satellites, produce more nuclear materials and introduce attack drones in 2024, as he called for “overwhelming” war readiness to cope with U.S.-led confrontational moves, state media reported Sunday.

Kim’s comments, made during a key ruling Workers’ Party meeting to set state goals for next year, suggest he’ll intensify a run of weapons tests ahead of the U.S. presidential election in November. Observers say Kim believes a boosted nuclear capability would give him another chance for high-stakes diplomacy with the U.S. to win sanctions relief if former President Donald Trump returns to the White House.

During the five-day meeting that ended Saturday, Kim said “vicious” anti-North Korea moves by the United States and its followers “have reached the extremes unprecedented in history,” pushing the Korean Peninsula to the brink of a nuclear war, according to the official Korean Central News Agency. Kim cited the expansion of U.S.-South Korean military exercises and the temporary deployment of powerful U.S. military assets such as bombers and a nuclear-armed submarine in South Korea — the steps the allies have taken in response to the North’s weapons testing spree since last year.

Kim called for “the overwhelming war response capability” to deter potential enemy provocations, KCNA said.

He set forth plans to launch three more military spy satellites next year in addition to the country’s first reconnaissance satellite launched in November. He underscored the need to establish “a reliable foundation” to build more nuclear weapons, an apparent reference to facilities producing fissile materials like weapons-grade plutonium and highly enriched uranium. Kim also ordered authorities to enhance submarine capabilities and develop various types of unmanned combat equipment such as armed drones.

WSJ Reporter Sentenced to 16 Years in Prison, Employer Calls It a 'Disgraceful, Sham Conviction'

“Pyongyang might be waiting out the U.S. presidential election to see what its provocations can buy it with the next administration,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul.

“The Kim regime has closed the political door on denuclearization negotiations but could offer rhetorical restraint and a testing freeze in exchange for sanctions relief,” Easley said. “Although North Korea has no intention of giving up nuclear weapons, it might try to extract payment for acting like a so-called responsible nuclear power.”

Kim has been focusing on modernizing his nuclear arsenal since his diplomacy with Trump broke down in 2019 due to wrangling over how much sanctions relief the North could get for a partial surrender of its nuclear program. Experts say Kim likely thinks that Trump, if elected for a second term, could make concessions as the U.S. is preoccupied with the Russia-Ukraine war and the Israel-Hamas fighting.

Nam Sung-wook, a professor at Korea University in South Korea, said if President Joe Biden is re-elected, North Korea won’t get what it wants. But he predicted a Trump win could revive diplomacy, saying Trump will likely say during his campaign that he can convince North Korea to suspend intimidating weapons tests.

Will the United States and North Korea go to war?

He said Kim’s vow to ramp up production of plutonium and uranium is meant to strengthen his negotiating cards. Nam said North Korea will also test-launch more intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the continental U.S. this year.

“North Korea will act to the fullest extent under its timetable for provocation until the U.S. election day,” Nam said.

During his speech at the party meeting, Kim used bellicose, derisive rhetoric against South Korea, calling it “a hemiplegic malformation and colonial subordinate state” whose society is “tainted by Yankee culture.” He said South Korea must not be considered as a partner for reconciliation or unification. He ordered the military to use all available means including nuclear weapons to conquer South Korea in the event of a conflict.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry responded by strongly condemning North Korea for pushing to advance its nuclear program and displaying hostility toward its neighbors. A statement said South Korea will try to overwhelmingly deter North Korean threats based on a solid alliance with the United States.

Some analysts have speculated that limited clashes between the Koreas along their tense border could happen in the coming year. South Korea’s spy agency said last week that North Korea will likely launch military provocations and cyberattacks ahead of South Korean parliamentary elections in April and the U.S. presidential election in November.

African Country Issues Massive Fine on Meta for 'Multiple and Repeated' Violations of the Law

Kim also maintained that North Korea must solidify cooperation with “anti-imperialist, independent” countries that he said oppose U.S.-led Western hegemony.

Kim didn’t name the countries. But North Korea has been seeking to beef up its cooperation with Russia and China, which have repeatedly blocked attempts by the U.S. and its partners to toughen U.N. sanctions on the North over its banned missile tests. The U.S. and South Korea accuse North Korea of supplying artillery and ammunition to Russia in return for high-tech Russian technologies for its own military programs.

Julianne Smith, U.S. permanent representative to NATO, said earlier this month the U.S. assessed that the suspected Russian technologies North Korea seeks are related to fighter aircraft, surface-to-air missiles, armored vehicles, ballistic missile production equipment or materials of that kind. Smith said U.S. intelligence indicates that North Korea had provided Russia with more than 1,000 containers of military equipment and munitions.

South Korean officials said Russian support likely enabled North Korea to put its spy satellite into orbit for the first time on Nov. 21. Many foreign experts are skeptical about the satellite’s ability but South Korean Defense Minister Shin Wonsik said in November that Russia could help North Korea produce higher-resolution satellite photos.

Yang Uk, an analyst at Seoul’s Asan Institute for Policy Studies, said that he believes North Korea hasn’t yet obtained functioning ICBMs that can launch nuclear strikes on the continental U.S. But he said North Korea’s shorter-range nuclear-armed missiles can reach South Korea and Japan, where a total of 80,000 American troops are stationed.

Estimates on the size of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal vary, ranging from 20-30 bombs to more than 100. The U.N. atomic agency and foreign experts recently said North Korea appears to have started operating a light-water reactor at its main nuclear complex in a possible attempt to secure a new source for weapons-grade plutonium.

Meanwhile, Kim said during the meeting that North Korea made “eye-opening” economic achievements by fulfilling or exceeding set quotas in major areas such as farming, housing construction and fisheries. Nam, the professor, said the self-praise appears aimed at burnishing Kim’s image as a leader who cares about public livelihoods as well as military issues.

A Note from Our Deputy Managing Editor:

I walked into the office one morning and noticed something strange. Half of The Western Journal’s readership was missing.

It had finally happened. Facebook had flipped THE switch.

Maybe it was because we wrote about ivermectin. Or election integrity. Or the Jan. 6 detainees. Or ballot mules.

Whatever the reason, I immediately knew what to do. We had to turn to you because, frankly, we know you are the only ones we can trust.

Can you help? Every donation to The Western Journal goes directly to funding our team of story researchers, writers and editors who doggedly pursue the truth and expose the corrupt elites.

Can I count on you for a small donation? We operate on a shoestring compared to other news media companies, so I can personally promise that not a penny of your donation will be wasted.


If you would rather become a WJ member outright, you can do that today as well.

We will use every single cent to fight against the lies and corruption in high places. And as long as we have your help, we will never give up.


Josh Manning

Deputy Managing Editor

The Western Journal

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , , , , , , ,
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City