Kim supervises N. Korean troops simulating attack on South

Kim Jong Un, North Korean leader, supervised a live fire artillery drill to simulate an attack on a South Korean aircraftfield. He also called for his troops’ readiness to respond to the enemy’s “frantic war planning moves”. This is apparently referring to the recent series military drills between South Korea and the United States.

The North Korean state media reported Friday that the North had fired at least one short-range missile towards the sea from a location near Nampo, a coastal city. The South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff was looking into whether additional missiles were launched simultaneously.

Recently, the United States sent B-1B and B-252 long-range bombers to South Korea for several rounds in joint aerial drills. To counter the increasing threat from Kim’s nuclear arsenal, allies will be preparing for their largest combined field training exercise in many years. North Korea regards regular U.S.-South Korean military drills as invasion rehearsals.

According to Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency, Kim asked his troops to be ready to “overwhelmingly respond and contain” North’s military action. He said that they were moving with “all kinds of more frantic war planning moves.”

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He stated that frontline units must improve their ability to perform their main “strategic mission” which is to prevent war and to take initiative in war.

Later Friday, the Unification Ministry of South Korea urged North Korea not to raise tensions by “reckless missile and nuclear programs” and other provocations. Lee Hyo-jung, vice spokesperson for North Korea, told reporters that North Korea should instead focus on people’s lives and work towards peace on the Korean Peninsula.

The KCNA report didn’t specify the types of weapons used in Thursday’s exercise, nor how many rockets were launched. Experts say that some of the North’s latest short-range weapons against South Korea include large-sized multiple rocket launchers.

North Korea refers to some of its most advanced short-range weapons as tactical weapons. This implies that they intend to arm them using lower-yield battlefield nukes.

Experts believe the North is communicating a threat of using those weapons in conventional warfare to weaken the stronger conventional forces South Korea and the United States. South Korea has approximately 28,000 troops to deter any potential North Korean aggression.

Kim’s comments are in keeping with the escalatory nuclear doctrine that North Korea passed last year. This allows for preemptive nuclear strikes when it perceives its leadership under threat.

North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper published photos showing at least six rockets fired from launch vehicles positioned in an area of coastal forest.

Kim, along with military officials as well as his daughter Kim Ju Ae (around 10 years old) watched the firings from an observatory.

Since November’s ICBM launch, she has been a part of several military events. Analysts believe that her appearances and high-profile descriptions in state media are intended to show the world that he does not intend to surrender his nuclear weapons. He sees them as the best guarantee of his survival and to extend his family’s dynastic rule.

After a record-breaking year of missile testing, North Korea held additional weapons demonstrations for 2023. Experts believe that North Korea is trying to claim nuclear strike capability against both South Korea and the U.S. mainland through its increased testing and threats.

Analysts believe Kim’s campaign is designed to force the United States to accept the North as a nuclear power and negotiate badly needed economic concessions from an enviable position. Since 2019, diplomacy between North Korea and the United States has been in stalemate.

South Korean and U.S. military personnel will be conducting computer-simulated command post-training March 13-23. They will also resume their largest springtime exercises which were last held back in 2018. Regular drills of allies were cancelled or reduced to support diplomacy, or because the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they renewed them after North Korea’s threats escalated and diplomacy collapsed.

Kim Yo Jong, North Korea’s powerful sister, and one of Pyongyang’s top foreign policy officers, stated Tuesday that her country is prepared to respond quickly and overwhelming to the expansion drills of its allies.

She had previously threatened to make the Pacific into a firing range for North Korea and implied repeatedly that North Korea might test-fire an ICBM towards those waters using a standard ballistic trajectory. This would be considered one of the most provocative weapon demonstrations by the North.

To avoid neighbor territories, all ICBM tests by North Korea since 2017 were conducted at a high angle.