DPRK soldiers look toward the south side while ROK Unification Minister Lee In-young visits the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone on Sept 16, 2020. (PARK TAE-HYUN / KOREA POOL / AFP)
SEOUL – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea mechanized troops held an artillery fire competition over the weekend as part of efforts to boost the country's defense capabilities, state media reported on Sunday.
The drills were conducted on Saturday, state news agency KCNA said, and come as the DPRK increasingly complains over what it sees as a double standard where its military activities invite international criticism when similar exercises by Republic of Korea and the United States usually do not.
The drills were overseen by Pak Jong-chon, member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau and secretary of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Pary of Korea
Analysts say Pyongyang is seeking to normalize its defense activities, with the aim of eventually winning international acceptance of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile arsenals, which have been sanctioned by UN Security Council resolutions.
Much of the DPRK's large conventional artillery force is deployed along the fortified border with ROK, where they have the range to reach as far as the heavily populated capital city of Seoul.
The drills come "at a time when the enthusiasm to undergo intensive training prevails throughout the Korean People's Army for ushering in a new heyday in strengthening the state defense capabilities under the banner of self-defense," KCNA reported.
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They were overseen by Pak Jong-chon, member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau and secretary of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Pary of Korea, KCNA said.
General Rim Kwang Il, chief of the General Staff of the KPA, and commanders of the participating units, observed the drills with Pak, KCNA said.
"As soon as the firing orders were given by the commanders of the combined units, gun barrels to annihilate the enemy competitively shelled the target to accurately hit it," the report reads.
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