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    In this Saturday, April 15, 2017, file photo, a North Korean national flag flutters as soldiers in tanks salute to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung, the country's late founder and grandfather of the current ruler

    N Korea Downscales Tank Military Drills Amid Rapprochement With South - Reports

    © AP Photo / Wong Maye-E, File
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Pyongyang significantly diminished the scale of this year’s edition of the annual contest among its tank units in what appears to be a sign of relaxing tensions on the Korean peninsula, a South Korean government source told local Yonhap news agency.

    "The North Korean military held a mobilization and firing competition among its tank units in a border area last week. But the number of participating units and equipment decreased remarkably from last year," the source said.

    The Pyongyang military holds its armored units competition annually in the first six months of the year. The contest is held for training but is usually conducted in a way similar to a real battle.

    In 2016 and 2017, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un observed the contest.

    "It was confirmed that Kim Jong-un didn't attend last week's contest," the source pointed out.

    READ MORE: North, South Korea Have Historic Chance to Establish Peace — Chinese President

    Earlier this year, South Korea and its ally, the United States, have already held their joint military training on the Korean peninsula, which appeared to be more low-key than past years amid the rapprochement between the two Koreas.

    The thaw between Seoul and Pyongyang has also led to the increasing diplomatic activities on the peninsula. In April, Kim held his first direct talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, while the North Korean leader’s meeting with US President Donald Trump is set to take place on June 12 in Singapore.

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    military drills, Kim Jong-un, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK)
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