SEOUL, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- North Korea's military is gearing up for its annual winter training, and Pyongyang has prepared Top Gun-style fighter jets for the event, multiple sources say.
South Korean government sources told Yonhap they have evidence that indicate North Korean troops are preparing a large-scale flight training exercise at Pyongyang's Sunan Airfield.
Sources said Kim Jong Un is expected to attend a tournament of North Korean pilots and North Korea's entire air fleet may be carrying out drills, according to the report.
One source said that it's possible North Korea is "emulating [South Korea's] annual Top Gun tournament in order to identify the best pilots."
Kim has previously conducted military tournaments by mobilizing North Korea's cavalry and artillery units, and recently provided field guidance at a women's artillery firing practice, where he "determined the combat capabilities of the women troops and provided on-site guidance in order to raise the spirit of Mount Paektu across all troops," according to state news agency KCNA.
Yonhap's government source also said "movement on the ground, sea and air" have accelerated, a trend that has been detected since North Korea's fifth nuclear test on Sept. 9, and Seoul made public its plans to remove the North Korean leadership in the case of a strike on the South.
A North Korea-based military source told Radio Free Asia Wednesday the kind of winter training that is in preparation is at an "actual level" that could meet the demands of war.
Cheong Seong-jang, a researcher at South Korea's Sejong Institute, said any North Korean directive "to prepare for the possibility of war can be seen as a way to emphasize internal solidarity" in a time when U.S. President-elect "Trump's team is appointing defense veterans to positions in the administration, South Korea and Japan has signed a military intelligence sharing deal, and a U.N. sanctions resolution" is on the horizon.
Other analysts at Sejong said Wednesday North Korea is confident of its capabilities, raising the possibility Pyongyang could engage in serious, forceful provocations, according to South Korean news service News 1.