North Korea’s state media reported on Monday that leader Kim Jong Un supervised air force drills for the second time in three days, even as the United States and South Korea decided to postpone their joint air drills in an attempt to push forward stalled denuclearisation talks with North Korea.
The US and South Korea said on Sunday they would postpone upcoming military drills, known as the Combined Flying Training Event, in an effort to bolster a stalled peace push with North Korea. Washington denied the move amounted to another concession to Pyongyang.
The drills, already planned to be scaled back from previous years, would have simulated air combat scenarios and involved an undisclosed number of warplanes from the US and South Korea to test readiness.
On Monday, North Korean state news agency KCNA said Kim supervised an airborne landing training of sharpshooter sub-units of the Air and Anti-Aircraft Force of the North Korean army.
Kim “said that it is necessary to wage a drill without notice under the simulated conditions of real war” for “improving the preparedness” of North Korean military units, KCNA said.
On Saturday, KCNA had reported that Kim watched a “combat flight contest” of the flight commanding officers of the Air and Anti-Aircraft Force. A photo in state newspaper Rodong Sinmun showed him smiling amid pilots gathered around him.
It was unclear when Kim oversaw these events, or whether it was on the same day. There was no mention of either the US or South Korea in the KCNA reports.