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Kim Jong-un tests out deadly weapons as North Korea becomes world military export hub


Kim Jong-un is quickly turning North Korea is a global military export hub. Over the weekend, the North Korean dictator visited a munitions hub where he was pictured aiming a sniper rifle at a firing range as his generals clapped in the background.

While at the factory, Kim ordered his military to modernise its artillery forces and “mass-produce multiple rocket launchers with high efficiency and reliability in bulk”.

During the visit, the leader inspected production lines and was seen at the wheel of a military vehicle used to transport a 240mm multiple rocket launcher system, an “updated version” of the system that had test-fired shells last week.

Kim called on his military leaders to expand the “scientific and technological capabilities to strengthen the artillery power” of the army.

One expert suggested that the well-publicised visit could be a marketing strategy for North Korea to sell more of its weapons to hostile forces abroad.

Pyongyang already supplies the Russian military with artillery shells, ballistic missiles and other weaponry for its war in Ukraine. South Korea’s defence ministry believes Pyongyang have shipped around 6,700 containers of weapons to Russia since the two countries’ leaders met at a summit last September.

These thousands of containers would be enough to hold three million rounds of 152mm artillery shells or 500,000 rounds of 122mm artillery shells.

Yang Uk, a military analyst at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, told NK News that the visit may have been aimed at attracting foreign buyers from countries such as Russia, Iran, and Syria. He added that Moscow may be interested in the 240mm rockets because of their compatibility with existing weaponry.

Shin Seung-ki, a senior analyst at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, also suggested 240mm rockets would be a huge boost to Russia’s war efforts against Ukraine. He said that the Russian military could deploy the rocket-launcher system at a distance of 80 kilometres.

Last Friday, Kim Jong Un guided a live-fire test of the modernised rocket launcher system as North Korean state media boasted about its “superiority and destructive power”.

North Korea in recent months has ramped up the pace of its weapons testing.

Meanwhile, North Korean diplomacy with the United States and South Korea remains stalled. Experts suggest that Kim wants to negotiate with the US from a position of military strength.

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