March 2, 2020 / 9:38 PM / in a month

North Korea leader Kim oversees long-range artillery drill: KCNA

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a drill of long-range artillery sub-units of the Korean People's Army, in North Korea in this image released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on March 2, 2020.?KCNA?via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw a long-range artillery drill on Monday, state media KCNA said on Tuesday.

South Korea had reported two launches off the east coast into the sea on Monday, but KCNA made no mention of whether missiles were involved.

Photos released by state media showed troops firing a multiple launch rocket system (MLRS), first seen last year and estimated by analysts to be about 400mm-450mm in caliber.

“The men of long-range artillery pieces on the front participating in the drill proudly demonstrated the accurate marksmanship which they had improved in their training,” KCNA reported.

While smaller than some of the other short-range missiles fired by North Korea last year, analysts said the large MLRS are still a type of ballistic missile, and therefore a potential violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Monday’s launch was the first since North Korea fired what it called “super-large multiple rocket launchers” on Nov. 28 and follow a year-end deadline North Korea has put forth for the United States to drop its insistence on unilateral denuclearization by Pyongyang.

Reporting by Sangmi Cha; Editing by Chris Reese and Michael Perry

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