The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will invest more funds in the acquisition of advanced fighting equipment for its air force and is now considering buying several JH 7 Flying Leopard fighter-bombers from China, the MBC News reported.
JH 7A Flying Leopard fighter-bomber [File photo]
There have been recent reports stating that Kim Jong Un might pay a visit to China and propose his plan to buy fighter jets from China.
Analysts have said that the DPRK air force could not enhance its overall fighting power by merely strengthening training. It also needs to import more advanced equipment. One way to swiftly increase its fighting capacity is to equip the air force with a type of fighter-bomber.
At present, only Russia and China might sell their fighter jets to the DPRK. But due to its limited arms production capacity, the Russian air force does not possess mass-equipped, high-functional fighter-bombers and its Sukhoi Su-34 fighters only have a limited production and thus may not be available for export.
Therefore the DPRK is unlikely to buy the fighter-bombers from Russia. Additionally, China owns a type of fighter-bomber which quite suits the DPRK's needs - the JH 7 Flying Leopard.
As far as the DPRK air force goes, the Flying Leopard is cutting-edge equipment. It can counter South Korea's fighters during air combat and also launch an air strike against the ROK's fleets in the West Sea.
The United States and South Korea have embarked on 12-day-long military drills, code-named Ulchi Freedom Guardian, last Monday. The drills involve 56,000 South Korean troops and about 30,000 U.S. soldiers. The Combined Forces Command has stated the military exercises are "defensive in nature."
Last week, the DPRK condemned the ROK-U.S. joint drills and vowed to take countermeasures to safeguard its sovereignty.
DPRK top leader Kim Jong Un even signed an order of battle in response to the ongoing joint military drills.
"If the enemies fire even a single shell on our inviolable territory and territorial waters, the KPA should deal prompt deadly blows at them and make an all-out counter-offensive to achieve national reunification," Kim was quoted as saying.