Kim Jong Un of North Korea supervised an artillery exercise simulating an attack on a South Korean airstrip and called on his forces to be prepared to answer to the "anxious military exercises" of the U.S. and South Korea, which are the largest in recent years.
A photo released by the North Korean government that allegedly depicts an artillery drill at an undisclosed location in the country was distributed Thursday, March 9, 2023.
Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service/AP
On Friday, the North Korean media reported that one day earlier, South Korea's military had identified a short-range ballistic missile launch from a location close to the city of Nampo on the western coast. The South's Joint Chiefs of Staff was in the process of determining if multiple missiles had been fired at the same time.
This month, South Korea and the United States are planning to hold their largest joint military drills in a while in order to confront the danger of Kim's nuclear weapons, which have seen a considerable increase in spite of North Korea's economic confinement and problems brought on by the pandemic.
The Korean Central News Agency of Pyongyang reported that Kim demanded his forces to be prepared to “overwhelmingly respond to and contain” the military activities of the North's adversaries, who according to him, have been carrying out all types of more hectic military preparation activities.
He suggested that frontline units should strengthen their abilities in order to execute their two primary “strategic missions, that is, first to deter war and second to take the initiative in the war.”
The document did not state what weapons were used in the drill on Thursday, nor the number of rockets that were discharged. Several of the North's more recent short-range arms, which are aimed at South Korea, include large-scale multiple rocket launchers which experts say merge the lines between artillery and ballistic missile systems.
North Korea characterizes some of its more sophisticated short-range missiles as tactical weapons, implying an objective to arm them with low-power nuclear arms for battle.
Analysts claim that North Korea is making it clear they are ready to employ their armaments in standard conflicts to counter the more potent conventional forces of South Korea and the U.S., who station roughly 28,000 troops in South Korea to discourage any potential aggression from North Korea.
After having an unprecedented year of missile launches in 2020, North Korea conducted multiple weapons tests in 2023. Analysts suggest that Pyongyang, with its numerous tests and warnings, is attempting to show that it has the capability to launch nuclear assaults on both South Korea and the United States.
Analysts suggest that Kim's strategy is to make the U.S. recognize North Korea as a nuclear state and get economic concessions from a point of advantage. Since 2019, talks between the U.S. and North Korea have come to a standstill.
To demonstrate its militaristic power, the United States has dispatched sophisticated combat planes, such as the B-1B and B-52 bombers, to work together with South Korean aircraft in practice exercises. This has caused North Korea to express displeasure since they view the combined drills as a preparation for an invasion.
From the 13th to the 23rd of March, South Korean and U.S. forces will engage in computer-simulated command post exercises. This comes after their largest springtime field operations, which were held in 2018, were either canceled or downscaled in light of diplomatic circumstances or the coronavirus pandemic.
However, as diplomacy has since broken down and North Korean provocations and missile tests have increased, the allied forces have decided to reinstate the drills.