KJU Attends Long Range Missile Drill (updated 17 March)

Kim Jong Un and his daughter, Kim Ju Ae, watch the 16 March 2023 drill of the Hwasong-17 theater ballistic missile (Photo: Rodong Sinmun/KCNA).

Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n; KJU) and his daughter, Kim Ju Ae (Kim Chu-a’e), attended a drill involving the Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile on 16 March (Thursday) at Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang.  The drill was held during the “grave situation in which the most unstable security environment is being created in the Korean peninsula due to the frantic, provocative and aggressive large-scale war drills conducted by the US and south Korean puppet traitors against the DPRK.”  The drill was held after its pro forma authorization by the Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK] Central Military Commission [CMC] during its last expanded meeting on 12 March (Sunday).

The 16 March Hwasong-17 drill “serves as an occasion to give a stronger warning to the enemies intentionally escalating tension on the Korean peninsula while persistently resorting to irresponsible and reckless military threats in defiance of the DPRK’s severe warning, and give an understanding of the concern about armed conflict which has come to a threatening reality, and to more clearly show the practical will of the Party and government of the DPRK to counterattack with overwhelming offensive measures at anytime. ”

Of course, KJU guided the theater ballistic missile drill “on the spot.”  He was joined by KJU Personal Secretariat deputy chief and WPK Propaganda and Agitation Department [PAD] deputy director Kim Yo Jong (Kim Yo’-cho’ng), WPK Secretary for Organizational Affairs Jo Yong Won (Cho Yo’ng-wo’n), WPK Secretary for Propaganda and Agitation (Information and Publicity) Ri Il Hwan (Ri Il-hwan), WPK Munitions Industry Department [MID] Deputy Director Kim Jong Sik (Kim Cho’ng-sik), National Academy of Defense Science head and ex aequo WPK MID deputy director Jang Chang Ha (Chang Chang-ha), along with senior officials of the WPK Central Committee and command personnel of the recently stood up Missile Guidance Bureau.  It is probable that Kim Jong Sik and Jang Chang Ha are the senior officials of the Missile Guidance Bureau (or at least some of them) alluded to in DPRK state media reporting.  If so, they likely hold the MGB positions concurrent to their permanent jobs in MID.  This warrants further observation at future missile events.

The Hwasong-17 drill was “aimed at confirming the mobile and normal operation and reliability of the DPRK’s nuclear war deterrent” and presented “no negative impact on the security of neighboring countries.”  It “confirmed the war readiness of the ICBM unit and the exceptional militancy of the DPRK’s strategic forces and strictly verified their reliability.”

KJU expressed “great satisfaction over the drill” and he remarked that “the drill clearly proved once again the conviction and guarantee of the operating systems of the nuclear strategic forces undergoing rapid development.”  He noted that “our action orientation and line to cope with the long-term security environment of the state and the enemies’ threat remain unchangeable.”  Kim Jong Un stressed “the need to strike fear into the enemies, really deter war and reliably guarantee the peaceful life of our people and their struggle for socialist construction by irreversibly bolstering up the nuclear deterrent.”

Kim Jong Un said that “we will continue to make the US and south Korea, which show open hostility toward the DPRK and frequently stage large-scale military drills in and around the Korean peninsula, find themselves being reckless.”  He “mentioned our policy for counteraction against the enemies that is to make them realize themselves that their persistent anti-DPRK military moves will bring an irreversible, grave threat to them.”  KJU reiterated the “solemn declaration of the WPK and the DPRK government that they would react to nuclear weapons with nukes and frontal confrontation in kind.”  He called “for strictly maintaining the rapid response posture of the strategic forces to cope with any armed conflict and war.  The nuclear strategic forces of the DPRK will make perfect preparations for carrying out their important mission anytime.”

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