Kim Jong-un oversees live fire exercises by artillery units
Published : 2013-02-26 14:19
Updated : 2013-02-26 14:19
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspected artillery units conducting live fire exercises to check if they could "fight an actual war," the communist country's media reported Tuesday.
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) report monitored in Seoul said Kim ordered the exercises and visited a unit to guide the artillerymen. The news wire service did not give details on when the exercises were conducted or which unit Kim guided, but the drills may have taken place on Monday when South Korean President Park Geun-hye was sworn into office.
The report said that Kim, who is the supreme commander of the armed forces and holds the rank of marshal and first chairman of the National Defense Commission, was satisfied with the results and praised the artillerymen.
Kim said that if the drill had happened during an actual combat situation, the enemy would have been "hit so hard they would not have been able to raise their heads."
The leader, who is thought to be in his late 20s or early 30s and took power after the sudden death of his father Kim Jong-il in late 2011, said he is examining the preparedness of units. Kim added that he was convinced after the exercise that the officers and men of the army were waiting for an order for the "final attack" against the enemy and keeping themselves at a maximum level of alertness.
Kim, moreover, set important tasks to be carried out by the army to further boost preparations in case there is a need to go into action, and emphasized that the artillerymen should always be ready to open fire to deal a "merciless blow" to the enemy.
The latest KCNA report comes as Kim has increased visits to military units and called for the country's armed forces to be ready for all forms of outside aggression after the international community moved to slap fresh sanctions on the country for the launching of a long-range rocket in December as well as the underground testing of its third nuclear device on Feb. 12. Before the latest test, Pyongyang detonated atomic devices in 2006 and 2009 that also resulted in sanctions.
Related to Kim's numerous visits to military units and his oversight of their exercises, Seoul's unification ministry said such measures are very regrettable but were expected.
"The leader's moves are not the kind of 'right action' urged by the international community, yet they are not unexpected either," said an official, who declined to be identified.
He pointed out that the North has consistently condemned the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises in the past, as war games designed to invade the communist country. The exercises that kick off on Friday and run through April 30 involve computer simulated maneuvers as well as actual field movements by both South Korean and U.S. troops.
The official, meanwhile, said that judging by past experience, the North will probably not make its first official comment on the new Park administration around April. "They started commenting on the previous administration in April 2008 after waiting about a month," he pointed out.
"They already blasted the Lee Myung-bak administration on numerous occasions and even lashed out at the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises, so they don't really have anything new to say for the time being," he said.
The official speculated that the North will probably wait and see what real actions are taken by the new president to push forward her Korean Peninsula peace process that aims to "normalize" inter-Korean relations and fuel cooperation. (Yonhap News)