Kim Jong-un Wants North Korea Army Prepared for War with U.S.

While U.S. policymakers and officials focus their attention almost exclusively on what is going on in the Middle East and the threat of the Islamic State, they are losing sight of other threats around the world. The Korea Times reported Monday that North Korea leader Kim Jong-un has called for full combat readiness so that North Korea’s military is prepared for any form of war, specifically with the United States.

“He was quoted as saying that the security situations at home and abroad have been graver than at any other time since he seized power three years ago in the wake of the death of his father, Kim Jong-il,” the Korea Times reports.

Kim delivered his speech before the Central Military Commission of the Worker’s Party of Korea (WPK), the ruling party in the country. He also emphasized the need to simplify the machinery of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) to realize the strategic intentions of the Supreme Command at any time.

A BBC report on Tuesday said North Korea is also calling on South Korea and the United States to end joint military exercises, which North Korea officials call “exercises of war.” The joint exercises are scheduled to begin on March 2.

It is unclear how much of what Kim said is bluster from a leader who is still struggling to step out of the shadow of his father and grandfather, but North Korea continues to make threats against the U.S. while American lawmakers focus foreign policy discussions mostly on the nation’s interests in the Middle East.

It is unclear how seriously U.S. officials are taking Kim’s speech before the WPK.