North Korea holds fire assault drill as tensions rise ahead of South Korea-US military exercises

SEOUL (AA): North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has monitored a series of missile tests simulating the destruction of an enemy airport, as he called on the military to steadily intensify drills to simulate “real war”, said state-run media on Friday.

The North Korean army conducted a fire assault drill on the western front days before the scheduled joint military exercises between South Korea and the US, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Kim, who visited the site to witnessed fire assault drill , gave field guidance to the Hwasong artillery unit, which is charged with important operational tasks for the Korean People’s Army,

Referring to the importance of the operational task of the unit once again, North Korean leader 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 in a diverse way in different situations, said the agency.

He was also briefed on the war preparations and the services of military personnel.

The latest development on the Korean peninsula came three days before the start of 11-day major joint military exercises between South Korea and the US on Monday.

In reference to the two countries’ upcoming joint military exercises, Kim directed his military to remain alert and ready to contain the “enemy” at all times in order to effectively deter the danger of a military clash on the Korean peninsula.

“The results of the censorship training clearly showed the important sense of mission that the army should be ready to fight (at) any time and be responsible for an actual action rather than words and our clear, practical, and unshakable will to take military action,” Kim was quoted as saying by the agency.

Kim was accompanied by his daughter and high-ranking North Korean military officers.

According to the news agency, he examined the actual war response posture of the 8th fire assault company, which is part of the unit tasked with striking the “enemy” operation airport in the direction of the western front.

“(The company) 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,” it said.

The South Korean military said Thursday that North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile toward the Yellow Sea from its western port city of Nampho.

Three days earlier, North Korea accused the South Korean military of firing artillery shells into “buffer zones,” and warned Seoul to stop the “provocative military actions”.

Last Monday, South Korea and the US conducted joint air drills involving the US nuclear-capable B-52 strategic bomber, ostensibly to demonstrate Washington’s military might against North Korea.

North Korea’s Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the air drills, accusing the US of deliberately escalating the situation on the Korean peninsula and in the region despite their warning.

While in a separate statement, Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, warned the US and South Korea that interception of its “test of strategic weapon” would be considered a “declaration of war” against Pyongyang.