Kim Jong Un of North Korea orders a significant increase in missile manufacturing just days before US-South Korea training

Days before South Korea and the US begin annual military drills that North Korea views as an invasion practice, state media reported Monday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made another tour of significant munitions factories and ordered a dramatic increase in the production of missiles and other weapons.

The U.S. government believes that Mr. Kim recently discussed with North Korea the possibility of selling more weapons to Russia for use in its conflict with Ukraine, which coincides with Mr. Kim’s effort to increase production of weapons.

According to the Korean Central News Agency, on Friday and Saturday, Mr. Kim inspected factories making tactical missiles, mobile launchers, armoured vehicles, and artillery rounds.

Mr. Kim set an objective to “dramatically boost” production capacity during a visit to the missile plant so that the facility can make missiles in large quantities to satisfy the demands of frontline military units, according to KCNA.

According to the article, Mr. Kim stated that the quality of war preparations depends on the growth of the munitions industry and that the factory plays a critical role in hastening the North Korean People’s Army’s war preparations.

While touring other factories, Mr. Kim urged the construction of additional up-to-date missile launch vehicles and stated that the manufacturing of large-calibre multiple rocket launcher rounds must be increased immediately and “at an exponential rate,” according to the article. According to KCNA, Kim also used a modern utility combat armoured vehicle.

Since his high-stakes negotiations with then-U.S. President Donald Trump broke down in 2019, Mr. Kim has been concentrating on expanding his nuclear and missile arsenals. More than 100 missile launches have been carried out by Mr. Kim’s military since the year 2022, many of them in an effort to warn the United States and South Korea about the increase in their joint military training operations.

As the United States and South Korea prepare to begin their summer military drills later this month, North Korea may soon conduct additional weapons tests. The U.S.-South Korean training is referred to as invasion practice by North Korea. The allies assert that they do not plan to invade North Korea.

Kim was quoted by KCNA as saying that North Korea needed to have “an overwhelming military force and get fully prepared for coping with any war” with the ability to “surely annihilate” its adversaries.

According to many experts, Mr. Kim eventually wants to utilize his arsenal of modernized weapons to force concessions from Washington, like the lifting of sanctions.

The White House declared earlier this month that U.S. intelligence authorities had discovered that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had discussed expanding the sale of ammunition to Moscow for its war in Ukraine with North Korean officials while in Pyongyang.

American claims that North Korea sent artillery rounds and ammunition to Russia have been refuted by North Korea. However, the North has openly backed Russia in the conflict and made suggestions that it would send labour to help restore the Ukrainian territory that Russia occupies.

Faced with pressure campaigns from the US over its nuclear program and economic challenges brought on by the virus, Mr. Kim has been attempting to strengthen ties with China and Russia.

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