SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korea carried out artillery fire exercises to bolster its defensive capabilities, state media said Sunday, in its latest weapons display to urge Washington and Seoul to abandon – he says – his hostile policy towards Pyongyang.
An artillery fire competition between mechanized units took place on Saturday with the attendance of senior military officials and officials, the state-run Korea Central Telegraphic Agency reported.
The ruler Kim Jong Un was not mentioned in the dispatch, apparently in an indication that he did not observe the maneuvers. Last year, the ruler oversaw a similar artillery exercise.
This year’s exercises were designed to survey the advancement of mechanized units’ mobile combat capability and further intensify competitive training in the North Korean armed forces, the ATCC said.
Since September, North Korea has conducted launch tests of newly developed missiles, including nuclear-capable weapons that put the United States and its allies South Korea and Japan within range of attack.
Some experts point out that North Korea wants its opponents to recognize it as a nuclear power state and to reduce international sanctions.
Northern artillery tests attract less outside attention than missile tests, in particular ballistic weapons launches banned by various UN Security Council resolutions.
US-led talks aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear program collapsed in early 2019 amid a dispute over sanctions.
US officials recently proposed the unconditional resumption of dialogue with North Korea.
Pyongyang said it will not return to the talks if the United States does not abandon its hostile policy sooner, apparently a reference to sanctions and military maneuvers that the United States and South Korea carry out regularly.