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N.K. leader watches rocket firing contest, combat flight drill
SEOUL, Dec. 21 (Yonhap) — North Korean leader Kim Jong-un observed a firing contest by the military’s batteries of multiple rocket launchers and a night flight drill by fighter pilots, Pyongyang’s state media said Wednesday.
He watched the artillery contest by multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) batteries of the Korean People’s Army, ordering all gunners to train under simulated conditions of actual war, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
Kim called on them to prepare to hit targets anytime, saying that military officers and gunners should intensify the training day and night, it added.
The KCNA also reported that the North’s leader watched the night combat flight drill, saying that the scene of planes’ hitting targets precisely made him think that he guided the drill in daytime, not at night.
His remarks came as the military kicked off a months-long winter training program in early December, which usually runs until April.
In December, North Korea focused on artillery drills that simulated striking military targets in South Korea and the presidential office.
The exercises came amid political turmoil in South Korea sparked by an influence-peddling and corruption scandal involving President Park Geun-hye and her long-time confidante.
Also the North intensified military drills this month in response to the United Nations Security Council’s imposition of more tough sanctions over Pyongyang’s nuclear test in September.
“This year’s winter training seems to be tougher than previous ones,” said Kim Dong-yup, a professor at the Institute for Far East Studies of Kyungnam University. “North Korea appears to wage psychological warfare in response to the South Korean military’s operation aimed at ‘decapitating’ the North Korean leadership.”