North Korea

North Korean leader Kim calls for intensified drills for ‘real war’

North Korean leader Kim calls for intensified drills for ‘real war’
A photo released by the official North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, accompanied by his daughter during the test firing of a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Hwasongpho-17 at Pyongyang International airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, 18 November 2022 (Issued on 19 November 2022). According to KCNA, the missile traveled up to a maximum altitude of 6,040.9 kilometers and flew a distance of 999.2 kilometers for 4,135s before landing in open waters of the East Sea. EPA-EFE/KCNA

SEOUL, March 10 (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the military to intensify drills for a "real war," state media said on Friday, after overseeing a fire assault drill that it said proved the country's capability to counter an "actual war."

North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile off its west coast on Thursday, South Korea’s military said, adding it was analysing possibilities the North may have launched multiple missiles simultaneously from the same area.

Photos released by the North’s KCNA news agency showed at least six missiles being fired at the same time.

KCNA said a unit trained for “strike missions” fired a “powerful volley at the targeted waters” and demonstrated its capability to “counter an actual war.”

“(Kim) stressed that the fire assault sub-units should be strictly prepared for the greatest perfection in carrying out the two strategic missions, that is, first to deter war and second to take the initiative in war, by steadily intensifying various simulated drills for real war …,” KCNA said.

Kim was accompanied by his young daughter who has appeared recently in a series of major events.

The latest missile launches came as the United States and South Korea were set to kick off large-scale military exercises known as the Freedom Shield drills next week. North Korea has long bristled at the allies’ drills as a rehearsal for invasion.

North Korean leader Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, said earlier this week any move to shoot down one of its test missiles would be considered a declaration of war and blamed a joint military exercise between the United States and South Korea for growing tensions.

The US Indo-Pacific Command said the latest launch posed no threat to the United States or its allies but Pyongyang’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs have a destabilising effect on the region.

By Soo-hyang Choi

(Reporting by Soo-hyang Choi; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Lincoln Feast.)


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