North Korea’s Kim Jong Un oversees air warfare drills, urges preparation for combat, KCNA says

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw air warfare drills on Friday and urged “realistic” preparation for combat, state media KCNA said on Saturday, after joint annual drills involving South Korea and the United States wrapped up earlier this week.

“Only realistic training directly related to warfare can prepare soldiers as real combat fighters,” Kim said, according to KCNA.

Kim said he was satisfied with North Korean troop readiness, and ordered training to cope with all kinds of topography, weather, time and the most severe conditions, KCNA reported.

North Korea’s drills took place after joint annual drills involving South Korea and the U.S. were held.

The South Korea-U.S. joint drills were the first since Pyongyang in November scrapped a 2018 inter-Korean military pact aimed at de-escalating tensions.

The 10-day Freedom Shield exercises that wrapped up on Thursday saw participation from an unprecedented number of member states from the U.S.-led United Nations Command, which has operated as part of the armistice that came at the end of the 1950-1953 Korean War.