Kim Jong-un puffs on cigarette as he holds meeting after firing long-range guns into the sea near South Korea
KIM Jong-un puffs on a cigarette as he held a meeting after firing long-range guns into the sea near South Korea.
The dictator, 38, was seen smoking at a table after North Korea test-fired the suspected artillery pieces into the sea today, according to South Korea’s military.
It comes days after Kim Jong Un called for greater defence capability to cope with outside threats.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said it detected several flight trajectories believed to be North Korean artillery on Sunday morning.
They added South Korea maintains a firm military readiness in close coordination with the United States amid boosted surveillance on North Korea.
Officials expressed concern at a national security council meeting that North Korea is upgrading weapons systems that pose a direct threat to South Korea.
And they reaffirmed they would sternly deal with such North Korean efforts.
The Norths artillery tests draw less outside attention than its missile launches.
But its forward-deployed long-range artillery guns are a serious security threat to South Korea’s populous metropolitan region, which is only 40-50 kilometers (25-30 miles) from the border with North Korea.
The suspected artillery launches were the latest in a spate of weapons tests by North Korea this year in what foreign experts call an attempt to pressure its rivals Washington and Seoul to relax international sanctions against Pyongyang and make other concessions.
South Korean and U.S. officials recently said North Korea had almost completed preparations for its first nuclear test in about five years.
In March, North Korea test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the mainland U.S. in breach of a 2018 moratorium on big missile tests.
In a speech at a ruling party meeting last week, Kim underscored the need to strengthen his countrys military capability, saying the current security environment is very serious.
Kims speech carried by state media didnt mention the United States or South Korea.
But he still set forth militant tasks to be pursued by his armed forces and scientists, a suggestion that he would press ahead with his high-profile arms build-up plans.
A possible new nuclear test by North Korea would be the seventh of its kind.
Some experts say North Korea will likely use the test to build warheads to be mounted on tactical nuclear weapons aimed at hitting targets in South Korea.
Earlier this month North Korea fired eight ballistic missiles from multiple locations at the same time amid fears it was preparing a fresh nuclear test.
And Kim Jong Un vowed to ramp up his weapons programme this year and boasted that he would “shake the world” with yet more missile tests.