North Korean leader Kim Jong-un supervised a parachuting drill of military sharpshooters and vowed to build an “invincible army,” displaying more defiance even as the US and South Korea called off their own exercises to create space for nuclear diplomacy.
The report yesterday by the Korean Central News Agency came hours after US President Donald Trump in a tweet urged Kim to “act quickly, get the deal done,” while hinting at another summit, writing, “See you soon!”
North Korea has publicized two military drills in three days. A report on Saturday said Kim urged combat pilots to prepare against enemies “armed to the teeth” while he attended a flight demonstration.
The Korean Central News Agency published photos that showed Kim posing with North Korean air force sharpshooters and soldiers who used white parachutes to land on a training field.
Kim, while supervising the drill, said it is “necessary to wage a drill without notice under the simulated conditions of real war” to improve his military’s war readiness and to build it into an “invincible army,” the agency said.
In related news, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui traveled to Russia yesterday, the Russian embassy in Pyongyang said.
Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported that the visit could involve discussions on negotiating an agreement with the US.
Choe has been at the forefront of negotiations that the US hopes would lead to North Korea’s dismantling its nuclear and missile programs, in exchange for lifting punishing international sanctions.
North Korean state media made no mention of Choe’s trip to Russia.
Russian Ambassador to North Korea Alexander Matsegora saw off Choe at Sunan International Airport for her visit to Russia yesterday, the embassy said in a post on its Facebook page. It did not mention why Choe was visiting Russia.
Kyodo, without citing sources, said Choe could be looking to discuss the US negotiations on her trip to Russia.
Russia has been involved in efforts to press North Korea to disarm and was for years involved in the so-called six-party talks, which collapsed in 2008.
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