Pyongyang spares mock Blue House, for now

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Pyongyang spares mock Blue House, for now

North Korea may have delayed or cancelled its mock attack against the Blue House after the conclusion of its party congress.

It was anticipated that the Communist regime would carry out an artillery drill against a replica of the Blue House at a firing range just outside Pyongyang after the seventh congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea, which was held last week.

But the South Korean military has not detected any signs of the North Korean military preparing to go ahead with the drill, according to Yonhap News Agency. It also reported that the artillery equipment that had been positioned at the firing range to fire at the Blue House replica has been withdrawn.

The North was confirmed by South Korea’s military last month to have built a copy of the Blue House and mobilized various artillery launchers about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) away from it, ready to shoot at any time.

North Korea reportedly dispatched dozens of artillery equipment including towed howitzers and 122-millimeter multiple rocket launchers in a firing position last month. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was expected to have party officials who attended the country’s biggest political gathering watch the artillery exercise after the closure of the congress.

While it remains to be seen whether the North cancelled the drill or simply postponed it for a few days, if Pyongyang did decide to drop the drill plan, it could be a sign of an overture by Kim toward Seoul as he proposed military talks with the South during the congress, saying mistrust and misunderstanding between the two sides could be resolved through talks.

The South Korean government, however, brushed off Kim’s proposal, pointing to Kim’s avowal to continue development of nuclear weapons in a clear rebuff of calls by the international community and Seoul to cease.

In his speech before some 3,000 party officials at the congress, Kim made clear he would continue to pursue a dual-track policy of nuclear capabilities and economic progress.

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