North Korea's military leaders have discussed assigning additional operational duties to front-line army units.
The discussions suggest North Korea may want to deploy battlefield nuclear weapons targeting South Korea along the rivals' tense border. The Korean Central News Agency said leader Kim Jong Un and other top officers at a key military meeting on Wednesday discussed changing operation plans and enhancing the capabilities of the border army units.
Analysts expect a nuclear test, which would be North Korea's seventh, to take place after the military meeting. South Korea recently said North Korea has finished preparation for its first nuclear test in five years.
Kim ordered steps to be taken to “enhance the operational capabilities of the frontline units,” KCNA said. A KCNA photo showed what appeared to be a big map of the Korean Peninsula’s eastern coast including border sites standing near the conference table.
“I can assess the issue of forward-deploying tactical nuclear weapons were discussed at the meeting in an in-depth manner,” said Cheong Seong-Chang, a senior analyst at South Korea’s private Sejong Institute.