Bizarre images of a military exercise on North Korean state television. Under the watchful eye of Kim Jong-un, soldiers in the capital Pyongyang demonstrated that they have “iron fists” “to keep the peace of the country”. The authenticity of the images cannot be verified, but it shows, among other things, how the soldiers hold bricks on their heads that another soldier attacks with a sledgehammer. Another soldier seems to break free from chains, only to lie down in some broken glass. Two more bend a metal rod with their necks. Finally, a soldier smashes concrete slabs on his abs.

It is not clear how these tricks could be useful in a war situation. The demonstration would be part of a defense expo. Earlier this week, the North Korean leader said in a speech marking the 76th anniversary of the founding of the workers’ party that the country’s condition is “gloomy”. He has urged his officials to improve the living conditions of the population. (adm)

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