According to state media, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un undertook a tour of crucial weapons manufacturing facilities within the country. These factories include those responsible for creating artillery systems and launch vehicles for nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. During the tour, Kim made a commitment to accelerate efforts aimed at bolstering the nation’s military capabilities and preparedness for war.
Kim’s inspections, which spanned three days until Saturday, occurred amid preparations by the United States and South Korea for their upcoming joint military exercises, scheduled for later this month. These exercises are designed to address the escalating threat posed by North Korea.
The Korean Peninsula is currently experiencing heightened tensions due to the increased pace of North Korea’s missile tests and the escalated joint military drills between the United States and South Korea, which North Korean leader Kim views as rehearsals for invasion.
There is speculation among experts that Kim’s visit to the weapons factories might also be linked to potential military collaboration with Moscow. This collaboration could involve North Korean supplies of artillery and other ammunition to support Russia’s involvement in the conflict in Ukraine, as Russian President Vladimir Putin seeks international support.
During his tour, Kim visited various factories producing military equipment. At a factory responsible for manufacturing large-caliber artillery systems, he emphasized the facility’s crucial role in enhancing the nation’s war readiness. Kim praised the factory’s use of scientific and technological methods to improve shell quality and production efficiency.
At another factory producing launcher trucks for ballistic missiles, Kim highlighted the significance of increasing the supply of these vehicles to the military. He commended workers for establishing a solid production foundation.
Kim’s tour also included a visit to a factory producing engines for cruise missiles and drones. He urged the rapid expansion of production in this area. Additionally, Kim emphasized the need to modernize soldiers’ weaponry at a small arms factory. Photos released by state media depicted Kim firing different scoped rifles during his visit.
Amid escalating confrontations with the United States and South Korea, Kim has been working to strengthen his partnerships with Moscow and Beijing. This effort is aimed at breaking diplomatic isolation and forming a united front against the United States.
Kim’s recent tour of weapons factories follows a large military parade in Pyongyang last month, during which he showcased powerful missiles capable of targeting South Korea and the United States. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and a Chinese ruling party official were present during the parade, suggesting North Korea’s support for Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
Analysts speculate that Kim’s visits to the factories serve a dual purpose: encouraging the modernization of domestically produced weapons and exploring the potential export of artillery and supplies to Russia. His comments during the tour indicate an intent to engage in exports to Russia, particularly in the realm of defense-related projects.
While North Korea has aligned with Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, denying allegations of arms supply to Russia, Kim’s recent actions suggest a strategic effort to enhance the nation’s military capabilities and establish closer ties with Moscow and Beijing. These developments have significant implications for the ongoing geopolitical landscape in the region.