North Korean Troops Hold Artillery Fire Competition

North Korean Troops Hold Artillery Fire Competition

North Korea's mechanized troops held an artillery fire competition over the weekend. The action is part of efforts to improve the country's defense capabilities.

Ummatimes - According to a report by North Korea's state news agency KCNA on Sunday (7/11), the drill was conducted on Saturday (6/11). Most of North Korea's large conventional artillery forces are deployed along the fortified border with South Korea. They have the range to reach as far as the densely populated capital of Seoul.

"The exercise comes at a time when enthusiasm for intensive training prevails throughout the Korean People's Army (KPA) to usher in a new heyday in strengthening the country's defense capabilities under the banner of self-defense," KCNA reported.

The move comes as North Korea increasingly complains about what it sees as double standards with its military activities drawing international criticism when similar exercises by South Korea and the United States have not received a similar response.

Analysts say Pyongyang is trying to normalize its defense activities. The ultimate goal is to win international acceptance of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile arsenal, which have been approved by UN Security Council resolutions.

The training was overseen by a member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau and the secretary of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea Central Committee, Pak Jong Chon. Pak is a general long seen as a rising star in the country's powerful military and a major player in its missile program who was promoted to his current position in September.

KPA General Staff Chief General Rim Kwang Il and the commanders of the participating units, observe the exercise with Pak. "Once a firing order is given by the joint unit commander, the gun barrel to competitively annihilate the enemy fires at the target to hit it accurately," the report said.