North Korea announced on Sunday plans to further enhance its military prowess, which U.S. President Obama mocked a day earlier, Reuters reported.
Pyongyang leader Kim Jong Un told a meeting of his Central Military Commission that North Korea's armed forces must be further developed to make certain of triumph in any conflict with Washington, according to the Korean Central News Agency.
"He stressed the need to enhance the function and role of the political organs of the army if it is to ... win one victory after another in the confrontation with the U.S.," the regime mouthpiece said.
During a visit to Seoul on Saturday, Obama dismissed Pyongyang's recent military posturing, which has included threats of a "new" type of nuclear test, live-fire exercises and ballistic-missile launches.
In a speech to U.S. forces stationed in South Korea, Obama was quoted by the Associated Press as saying, "Anybody can make threats. Anybody can move an army. Anybody can show off a missile. That doesn't make you strong."
Behind the scenes, though, the Pentagon reportedly is taking the North Korean nuclear and missile threat seriously. In a classified contingency plan updated recently for a potential new war, the United States sees the North as a nuclear-armed adversary, despite the Obama administration's continued refusal to publicly acknowledge Kim's arsenal, the New York Times reported.
Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye agreed on Friday to consider whether to delay plans to transfer wartime control of South Korean troops, the Christian Science Monitor reported.
South Korea was due by the end of 2015 to take back operational command of its forces during wartime, but the South has pushed for postponing this schedule out of concern that its military is not ready.
Meanwhile, a recent effort by Seoul to ink a memorandum of understanding with Tokyo and Washington that would permit intelligence exchanges about North Korea's nuclear and missile activities has come under scrutiny, the Yonhap News Agency reported on Monday. A separate effort by the South Korean government in 2012 to sign a two-way deal on intelligence sharing with Japan came under strong domestic criticism amid perceptions that Tokyo had not fully atoned for its colonial era and World War II actions.