North Korean rocket artillery fire a volley of short-range ballistic missiles in a drillInternationalIndiaAfricaThe US and South Korea are set to begin massive war games rehearsing strikes on North Korea, which will involve thousands of troops, warships, and bomber aircraft. A state of war technically persists between them, since the war that started in 1950 was only ended by a ceasefire, keeping tensions high for decades.Kim Jong-un, general secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea and president of the State Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), observed a crack rocket artillery unit in its fire assault drills on Thursday.Photos published in North Korean media showed six road-capable transporter-erector-launchers (TELs) firing short-range ballistic missiles. They are likely the same ones detected by South Korean military intelligence on Thursday, flying over the Yellow Sea from a launch site near Nampo.© KCNATransporter-erector-launchers (TELs) for North Korean rocket artillery, preparing to fire short-range ballistic missiles in a live-fire drillTransporter-erector-launchers (TELs) for North Korean rocket artillery, preparing to fire short-range ballistic missiles in a live-fire drill© KCNANorth Korean rocket artillery fire a volley of short-range ballistic missiles in a drillNorth Korean rocket artillery fire a volley of short-range ballistic missiles in a drill© KCNAAerial view of a volley of short-range ballistic missiles fired in a DPRK weapons drillAerial view of a volley of short-range ballistic missiles fired in a DPRK weapons drillAccording to a media report accompanying the photos, Kim “examined the actual war response posture of the 8th fire assault company under the unit charged with striking the enemy’s operation airport in the direction of the western front.”“The fire assault company, which has trained its capability to carrying out strike missions in the definite and minute war posture of containing any military moves of the enemy at a time, fired a powerful volley at the targeted waters in the West Sea of Korea set under the simulated conditions of the major elements of the enemy operation airport, thus confidently demonstrating its capability to counter an actual war,” the report added, referring to the Yellow Sea that separates the Korean Peninsula from China.The photos showed Kim was accompanied by a slew of military brass, but also by his daughter, whose name has not been published but is reported in South Korea media to be Kim Ju-ae. She’s said to be about 10 or 11 years old. She first began appearing with him at public functions last autumn, both of a military and civil nature.© KCNADPRK leader Kim Jong Un, KPA brass, and Kim’s daughter watch a rocket artillery drill in Nampo on March 9, 2023.DPRK leader Kim Jong Un, KPA brass, and Kim’s daughter watch a rocket artillery drill in Nampo on March 9, 2023.The launches come amid a series of war games by the US and South Korea, which rehearse military operations against the DPRK. Last month, tabletop exercises were held at the Pentagon in Virginia, and next week, the massive Freedom Shield and Warrior Shield exercises, involving thousands of US and South Korean troops, will kick off in South Korea. The US has maintained a 28,000-strong garrison there since the 1953 ceasefire with the DPRK.The absence of a permanent peace treaty and the presence of the massive US garrison are pointed to by Pyongyang as reasons for their ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs, and the socialist government has accused Washington and Seoul of driving up tensions with its constant war games.MilitaryNorth Korea Urging UN to Demand Halt to US-South Korean Military Drills5 March, 00:10 GMTThat fear was palpable in the North Korean news report on the rocket drills. According to the report, Kim said “the army should be ready to fight any time and be responsible for an actual action rather than words and our clear, practical and unshakable will to take military action.”“He stressed the need to always stay alert for all sorts of more frantic war preparation moves being committed by the enemy recently and maintain and steadily train the powerful capability to overwhelmingly respond to and contain them all the time so as to thoroughly deter the danger of a military clash on the Korean Peninsula,” the report added.Peace and denuclearization talks made promising gains in 2018 and 2019, but collapsed after the US refused to reciprocate North Korea’s steps toward ending its nuclear program by lowering some of its sanctions against Pyongyang.Relations have cooled considerably since then, especially since US President Joe Biden took office in 2021, who campaigned on taking a harder line against Pyongyang than his predecessor, Donald Trump, who preferred a more wheel-and-deal diplomatic style.