North Korea’s leader guides another round of artillery drills

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (AP) — North Korean state media said yesterday that leader Kim Jong-un supervised another round of artillery exercises, the latest in a series of exercises believed aimed at boosting its fighting capability.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Kim guided an artillery firing competition between army units on Thursday. It said the competition was meant to evaluate the readiness of artillery forces and improve the form, programme and method of artillery drills.

Kim praised artillery troops for their “militant enthusiasm and attitude” and ordered authorities to hold similar artillery firing competitions on a regular basis, according to KCNA.

The latest drills were the fourth since late February.

United States (US)-led diplomatic efforts aimed at getting the North to give up its nuclear weapons have been stalled for months.

Last December, Kim said he would unveil “a new strategic weapon” and expand his nuclear arsenal in the face of US sanctions and pressure.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspects an artillery fire competition in an undisclosed location in North Korea. PHOTO: AP