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N. Korean leader inspects tactical guided weapons test apparently targeting S. Korean military airport: state media

By Yonhap

Published : March 10, 2023 - 09:28

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (third from left) inspects the Hwasong artillery unit with his daughter, presumed to be his second child, Ju-ae, on Thursday. (KCNA) North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (third from left) inspects the Hwasong artillery unit with his daughter, presumed to be his second child, Ju-ae, on Thursday. (KCNA)

North Korea announced Friday its leader Kim Jong-un oversaw a "fire assault drill" of an artillery unit a day earlier as he stressed the need to "overwhelmingly respond" to any war preparations by its "enemy."

Photos released by the North's official Korean Central News Agency also showed Kim's daughter Ju-ae attending the "field guidance."

Kim inspected the "Hwasong artillery unit charged with important operational task of the Korean People's Army on the western front on March 9 and watched a fire assault drill," the KCNA said in an English-language report.

"He stressed the need to always stay alert for all sorts of more frantic war preparation moves being committed by the enemy recently and maintain and steadily train the powerful capability to overwhelmingly respond to and contain them all the time so as to thoroughly deter the danger of a military clash on the Korean Peninsula," it added.

Kim also emphasized that the fire assault subunits should be "strictly prepared for the greatest perfection" in carrying out two strategic missions: deterring war and taking the initiative in war "by steadily intensifying various simulated drills for real war in a diverse way in different situations."

The North's leader "examined the actual war response posture of the 8th fire assault company under the unit charged with striking the enemy's operation airport in the direction of the western front," implying that the drills were aimed at striking the South's military airfields in case of a war.

"The fire assault company, which has trained its capability to carrying out strike missions in the definite and minute war posture of containing any military moves of the enemy at a time, fired a powerful volley at the targeted waters in the West Sea of Korea set under the simulated conditions of the major elements of the enemy operation airport, thus confidently demonstrating its capability to counter an actual war," the KCNA said.

The North appears to have test-fired at least six tactical guided weapons simultaneously, according to photos unveiled by its state media.

On Thursday, South Korea's military said the North fired at least one short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) toward the Yellow Sea from the North's western port city of Nampho at 6:20 p.m.

Pyongyang's latest provocation came as the allies are preparing to kick off the Freedom Shield exercise set to take place from Monday through March 23. The exercise is to proceed concurrently with the large-scale field training exercise, called the Warrior Shield.

Earlier this week, Kim Yo-jong, the powerful sister of leader Kim, said the reclusive country will regard any US attempt to intercept its missile as a "clear declaration of war" and threatened to take "overwhelming" actions against military activities by Washington and Seoul. (KCNA)