North Korea Conducts Artillery Tests to Pressure Washington and Seoul to Change Policy

North Korea has carried out long-range artillery exercises to bolster its defense capabilities as Pyongyang is pressuring Washington and Seoul to abandon “hostile politics,” according to military sources.

This new weapons test, namely an artillery competition between mechanized units, took place on Saturday, with the presence of senior government and military officials, the same sources indicated.

Leader Kim Jong Un was not mentioned in the report, suggesting that he did not attend the military rehearsal in person, despite overseeing a similar artillery exercise that took place last year.

This year’s drills are designed to inspect and assess the progress of mechanized units in their mobile combat capabilities and to further intensify competitive training across the entire North Korean army.

Since last September, North Korea has tested a number of newly developed missiles, including nuclear-capable weapons that place South Korea and Japan – allies of the United States – as potential targets for attack.

Some experts maintain that North Korea wants rival countries to accept it as a nuclear-powered country and cooperate to ease international sanctions imposed on the country.

Artillery tests have attracted less international attention than missile tests, particularly ballistic weapons launches that are prohibited by several UN Security Council resolutions. However, the long-range artillery pieces, positioned near the border with South Korea, pose a serious threat to the populous southern metropolitan region and other border areas, warn military experts.

US-led talks to end North Korea’s nuclear program collapsed in early 2019, amid heated discussions over sanctions against the country.

US authorities have recently proposed resuming negotiations with North Korea, without any preconditions.

North Korea has already responded, saying it will not return to the fear of negotiations if the United States does not first abandon what Pyongyang calls a hostile policy, apparently alluding to the sanctions and regular military exercises carried out between Washington and Seoul.

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