At a meeting of the ruling Workers' Party's Central Military Commission on Monday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un directed his military to strengthen war preparations.

The North Korean dictator made an appearance after 40 days of staying away from the public eye. In a statement issued during the meeting, he encouraged his forces to carry out more military drills.

According to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the meeting was held to discuss "major military and political tasks" for this year. It added that the discussion involved the issue of constantly expanding and intensifying the operation and combat drills of the KPA to cope with the prevailing situation and more strictly perfecting the preparedness for war."

The meeting was held in the backdrop of the country preparing to celebrate the 75th founding anniversary of the Korean People's Army on Wednesday. North Korea may be planning to stage a massive military parade on the occasion, per a report in DW.

It also needs to be noted that Kim Jong-un's call for military drills and war preparedness may be a message for the United States as the latter continues military drills with South Korea, according to a report in The Independent.

Kim Jong-un did not take the development too well and threatened to counter the US military moves with the "most overwhelming nuclear force."

Condemning the military drills, North Korea said that the US and its allies have reached an "extreme red line." It even threatened to turn the peninsula into a "huge war arsenal and a more critical war zone."

Last Thursday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin paid a visit to South Korea. Austin and his South Korean counterpart discussed joint planning and exercises to counter North Korean threats.

Seoul's President Yoon Suk-yeol, in a statement released after the meeting, said that the two countries are "in talks over information-sharing, joint planning, and the joint implementation plans that follow with regard to the operation of US nuclear assets to respond to North Korea's nuclear weapons."

South Korea and the United States have increased joint military exercises as North Korea continues to conduct weapon tests despite UN sanctions. Last year, it launched more than 70 ballistic missiles to carry out test launches of its biggest missiles, including banned nuclear-capable intercontinental missiles.

Kim Jong-un, North Korea
A South Korean soldier walks past a television screen showing file footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, at a railway station in Seoul Jung Yeon-Je/ AFP