DPRK leader visits front-line artillery unit ahead of S.Korea-U.S. drills
PYONGYANG, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) –Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), inspected a front-line artillery unit days before Seoul and Washington are to launch their annual joint exercises, state media reported on Saturday.
During his visit to the unit of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) on the DRPK’s border Mu Islet on the southwest front, Kim praised service members as heroes and told them never to tolerate any enemy aggression, the official news agency KCNA reported.
“If the enemy dares recklessly preempt firing and even a single shell drops on the territory of the DPRK, the KPA should lead the battle to a sacred war for national reunification, not confining it to a local war on the southwest region,” Kim was quoted by the KCNA as saying.
“He also ordered it to turn the west sea into a graveyard of the invaders,” the KCNA report said.
Kim, also Supreme Commander of the KPA, carefully watched Yonphyong Island from the post and expressed satisfaction over the combat posture of the detachment, according to the report.
The DPRK and South Korea exchanged fierce artillery fire near Yonphyong Island in November 2010, killing four South Koreans. Both sides accused the other of firing the first shot.
“This islet is not only the biggest hotspot on the Korean Peninsula but a very sensitive area on which world attention is focused and where the interests of many countries are intermingled,” Kim was quoted as saying.
Kim slammed the United States and South Korea for “threatening peace and stability of not only the DPRK but of the region and the rest of the world,” as the two often stage provocative war drills in those waters of the sea.
The annual joint drills between South Korea and the United States, code-named Ulchi Freedom Guardian, are set for Aug. 20-31 and will involve some 56,000 South Korean troops and about 30,000 U.S. soldiers.
Kim “ordered the servicepersons of the detachment to be vigilant against every move of the enemy and not to miss their gold chance to deal at once deadly counter-blows at the enemy if even a single shell is dropped on the waters or in the area where the sovereignty of the DPRK is exercised,” the KCNA said.
Earlier, Kim also visited the defense detachment on Jangjae Islet near Yonphyong Island.