(LEAD) N. Korean leader inspects major weapons factories: state media

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has conducted a three-day inspection of major arms factories, including those that produce shells of large-caliber multiple rocket launchers and engines of strategic cruise missiles, state media said Sunday.

The three-day inspection that wrapped up on Saturday came a week after Kim attended a massive military parade marking the 70th armistice anniversary of the Korean War on July 27 and showcasing North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missiles and drones.

Kim made the visit to the factories to "learn about the implementation of the core goal of the Party's policy on munitions industry" and set forth new goals to be carried out, such as modernizing weapons, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Kim said it is "the most important and urgent matter in making war preparations to modernize small arms to be carried by the KPA frontline units and other units ... in keeping with the changed aspect of war," according to the KCNA. The KPA is an acronym for the North's Korean People's Army.

During his visit to the factory manufacturing engines of strategic cruise missiles and armed unmanned aerial vehicles, Kim called for "steadily increasing the performance and reliability of the engine" and "rapidly expanding its production capacity," the KCNA said.

Kim's field guidance at major arms factories came as South Korea and the United States plan to hold their annual summertime Ulchi Freedom Shield exercise this month.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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