Home » North Korea’s Kim operates ‘world’s most powerful’ tank during live fire exercises

North Korea’s Kim operates ‘world’s most powerful’ tank during live fire exercises

by John Jefferson
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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un operated a newly developed battle tank as he renewed calls for his military to prepare for war, state media reported Thursday.

Kim expressed “great satisfaction” with “the world’s most powerful” tank, which he drove himself during a “training match” that explored the combat capabilities of tank crews, according to Reuters. Kim’s participation added “to the high militant spirit of the tankmen of our army,” the Korean Central News Agency reported.

The drills took place near the country’s shared border with South Korea, per KCNA. They featured tanks, armored cars and FA-50 fighter jets, the army said.

The tank training came after South Korea and the U.S. military ended their annual 11-day joint drills. The North has condemned these drills as a rehearsal for invasion and North Korea’s Defense Ministry vowed to carry out “responsible military activities” in response.


During the training exercises, heavy tanks moved through simulated harsh combat circumstances and fired live rounds.

“Swiftly weaving their way through various worst combat circumstances, heavy tanks hit targets at once with powerful strikes and broke through strong defense lines with high maneuverability,” KCNA reported.

Tank firing a live round
Several tanks in a row

The North’s Defense Minister Kang Sun Nam also attended the event, per Reuters.

The North Korean government did not provide the name or specifications of the battle tank driven by Kim.


Kim’s appearance comes after he led artillery firing drills for the Korean People’s Army – the country’s military force – last week.

A photo of a tank
Kim, dozens of soldiers posing for a picture

The South Korea-U.S. military exercises involved a computer-simulated command program and included 48 types of field exercises.

North Korea res particularly hostile as Kim continues to ramp up his weapon supplies and pursues advanced ballistic and nuclear technologies. 


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit South Korea next week, where he will hold a meeting with South Korean foreign minister Cho Tae-yul in Seoul.

Several tanks firing weapons

Kim now joins Russian President Vladimir Putin in operating a military vehicle after Putin took a flight on a nuclear-capable bomber last month.

Putin rode the Tu-160M bomber, codenamed “Blackjacks” by NATO – a bomber capable of carrying 12 cruise missiles and flying approximately 7,500 miles without refueling – on Feb. 22.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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