North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for a “drastic intensification” of missile production, state news agency KCNA reported on Monday, as Seoul and Washington prepare for joint military maneuvers.
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Kim Jong Un visited factories producing missiles, ammunition for super-large caliber multiple rocket launchers and armored fighting vehicles on Friday and Saturday, KCNA reported.
The leader expressed his “satisfaction” when visiting a missile production center that managed to “perfect scientific and technological issues related to production” and modernized weapons.
“He set an important goal: to dramatically increase missile production capacity,” and stressed the factory’s role in “accelerating” preparations for war, according to KCNA.
Kim Jong Un stressed “the need to boost shell production” and personally drove an armored fighting vehicle, the agency said.
Photos published by the Rodong Sinmun newspaper show a beaming Kim Jong Un sitting in the driver’s seat of a “new model of armored fighting vehicle”.
During these inspections, he also visited ammunition production plants for very large caliber multiple rocket launchers and transporter-erector-launchers (TEL).
North Korea’s military must have “overwhelming military strength” and be “ready to face any war at any time”, said Kim Jong Un, saying it must “annihilate the enemy if attacked, KCNA reported.
The visits came as South Korea and the United States prepare for joint exercises, dubbed “Ulchi Freedom Shield,” to take place from Aug. 21-31.
Pyongyang sees all of these drills as rehearsals for an invasion and has repeatedly warned it will take “crushing” action to respond.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul described the maneuvers as “a difficult and realistic exercise aimed at strengthening the joint defense system and the response capabilities of the alliance”.
A summit between the leaders of South Korea, the United States and Japan is to be held Friday in Washington, with the aim of strengthening their security cooperation in the face of an increasingly threatening North Korea.