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N.K.’s Kim visits military, calls for greater combat capabilities

N.K.’s Kim visits military, calls for greater combat capabilities

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Published : 2013-12-25 20:27
Updated : 2013-12-25 20:27

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspects the command of Large Combined Unit 526 in the western port city of Nampo on Tuesday to mark the 22nd anniversary of the accession of his late father and longtime strongman Kim Jong-il, as supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army. (Yonhap News)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un instructed the military to beef up its combat readiness during a visit to an army unit, state media said Wednesday, as cross-border tension remains high since the shock execution of his uncle.

Kim inspected the Command of Large Combined Unit 526 in the western port city of Nampo on Tuesday to mark the 22nd anniversary of the accession of his late father and longtime strongman, Kim Jong-il, as supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army, the Korean Central News Agency said.

While lauding the “undying exploits” of his ancestors, the young Kim urged the unit to ensure strong combat readiness, stressing that “wars break out without prior notice.”

“He instructed the unit to put utmost spurs (efforts) on rounding off its combat readiness with the firm viewpoint and stand that it should be wholly responsible for its combat readiness before the party,” the KCNA said.

Kim was accompanied by Choe Ryong-hae, director of the military’s General Political Bureau; Ri Yong-gil, chief of its general staff; Jang Jong-nam, minister of the People’s Armed Forces and other officials.

Also on Tuesday, President Park Geun-hye made her first visit as the South’s commander-in-chief to a frontline unit in Inje, Gangwon Province. Park observed a drill, had lunch with trainees and called for a “thorough security posture” against possible North Korean provocations.

Since Kim took power two years ago, Choe has apparently become one of his closest confidants and the communist state’s most powerful men. Rep. Ahn Hong-joon, chairman of the National Assembly’s foreign affairs and unification committee, called Choe the mastermind of the execution of the young leader’s uncle, Jang Song-thaek.

The trip came as the fledgling regime steps up efforts to idolize the Kim dynasty and preclude any public agitation in the wake of Jang’s death.

The KCNA quoted Kim as saying that the unit has become “powerful and matchless” due to the “wise leadership and meticulous care” by Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-un’s deceased grandfather and national founder.

“Kim Jong-il strengthened the People’s Army into the invincible revolutionary forces, placed all people under arms and turned the whole country into a fortress and thus put the country on the position of the world’s military super power,” the dispatch said. “These undying exploits will shine for all ages.”

By Shin Hyon-hee (heeshin@heraldcorp.com)

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