North Korea’s Kim Oversees Series of Firing Drills

Tue Mar 19 2024
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SEOUL, South Korea:North Korea’s Central News Agency reported on Tuesday that country’s leader Kim Jong Un has overseen a series of firing drills by artillery units in the west of the country.

The announcement came amid heightened tensions with Seoul and Washington after US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken visited South Korea and the allies completed one of their annual large-scale joint military exercises.

The joint exercises have been met with a backlash and live-fire drills from nuclear-armed North Korea, which regularly denounces all of these drills as rehearsals for an invasion.

This time, Blinken’s visit seemed to add fuel to the fire. The artillery exercise was announced a day after South Korea said North Korea had fired three short-range ballistic missiles, in what analysts said was a calculated move to draw attention to Mr. Blinken’s stay in South Korea.

The drills involved “super-large multiple rocket launchers,” according to the state-run KCNA news agency.

When the order was given, the news agency said, the soldiers “simultaneously fired the gun of annihilation”.

“Massive shells of super-large multiple rocket launchers, which were fired from the sharp gun barrels like lava, flew to the target with the flame of annihilating the enemy,” it said.

The state media report said the drills also included simulating an “air explosion of a shell of” a super-large multiple rocket launcher.

Blinken attended the third Democratic Summit and met with President Yoon Suk Yeol earlier Monday in Seoul. He also met with his South Korean counterpart on the sidelines of the event, and future talks are likely to focus on the allies’ efforts to counter the North Korean threat.

Seoul is a key regional ally of Washington, and the United States has deployed about 27,000 American troops in the South to protect it from North Korea.

North Korea warned earlier this month that South Korea and the United States would pay a “dear price” for the military drills, and later said Kim commanded an artillery unit it said could attack the South Korean capital.

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