Friday 24 January 2020

North Korea 'erects mock-up of Seoul presidential palace for firing drill'

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a military parade in Pyongyang (AP)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a military parade in Pyongyang (AP)

North Korea has built a half-size mock-up of the South's presidential palace at a firing range in apparent preparation for a live firing drill, according to the South's military chiefs.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff said the information came from analysis of South Korean satellite imagery.

North Korea has in recent weeks repeatedly threatened to strike the presidential palace and government buildings in Seoul amid annual joint military drills between the US and South Korea and heightened sanctions against the North over its recent nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.

The development comes ahead of a crucial ruling party congress next month during which North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is expected to shake up the country's political elite and announce major state goals in an effort to consolidate his power.

A pre-emptive large-scale strike by North Korea against the South is regarded as highly unlikely. Such a move would risk bringing down Kim's authoritarian rule given the likely military response of the US and South Korea.

PA Media

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