North Korean state media reported that the country conducted artillery exercises on Saturday to strengthen its defense capabilities
"As soon as the firing orders were given by the commanders of the combined units, gun barrels to annihilate the enemy competitively shelled the target to accurately hit it," the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.
KCNA noted that the exercises, which were conducted by mechanized troops, had several officials present. A member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau, Pak Jong Chon, and chief of the General Staff of the Korean People's Army, General Rim Kwang Il, were both present, it said. The commanders of the units participating in the exercises were also reportedly present.
KCNA noted that the drills occurred "at a time when the enthusiasm to undergo intensive training prevails throughout the Korean People's Army (KPA) for ushering in a new heyday in strengthening the state defence capabilities under the banner of self-defence."
The Associated Press noted that Leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnNorth Korea fires two more missiles, calls US sanctions a 'provocation' Biden strategy on North Korea under pressure over missile launches Kim Jong Un's latest missile hit its mark: US-South Korea relations MORE may not have been at the artillery exercises, given that his name was not included in the KCNA report.
Some experts believe that Pyongyang is seeking to pressure the international community to ease sanctions against the country and acknowledge that North Korea has nuclear capabilities, the AP noted.
Talks between the U.S. and North Korea over Pyongyang's nuclear capabilities have stalled since 2019, though earlier this year U.S. special envoy Sung Kim urged officials to get back to the negotiating table.
The Hill has reached out to the State Department for comment.