NK leader focuses on military inspections following uncle's execution

By 배현정
  • Published : Feb 1, 2014 - 11:15
  • Updated : Feb 1, 2014 - 11:15
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's military inspections accounted for two-thirds of his public activities in January, an analysis by Yonhap News Agency showed Saturday.

According to the analysis into Pyongyang's three media outlets -- the Korean Central News Agency, Korean Central Television and Rodong Sinmun -- Kim partook in nine publicized activities in January, with six of them related to the military.

Though military inspections by the North Korean ruler are not unusual, his recent trips have drawn particular attention after his powerful uncle Jang Song thaek was ousted in a shocking execution in December.

It also comes while the communist state is offering a series of conciliatory gestures toward Seoul, calling on South Korea and the United States to cancel their upcoming joint military drills, set to run from late February through April. 

Early last month, Kim visited the command post and a freezing facility at the Ministry of the People's Armed Forces. He also attended a military band's performance.

Late January, he observed exercises by the North's air force unit and special forces as routine winter drills have been underway since early December. 

The other three events, which were not related to the military, were announcing the New Year's message, watching a friendly basketball game led by former NBA star Dennis Rodman to mark the leader's birthday on Jan. 8, and visiting a state-run science institute in the capital Pyongyang. 

Kim's latest moves are different from those observed during the same period of last year, when the young leader focused on economic inspections, which included visiting a construction site and convening a party meeting.

In response to the international move to impose additional sanctions on Pyongyang for its long-range rocket launch in December 2012, Kim convened a meeting of law enforcement and police officials to urge them to tighten security in January 2013.

Kim's recent military inspections sparked speculation that the communist state is seeking to forge internal unity following the highly publicized political upheaval involving Jang, once considered the nation's No. 2.

"Kim Jong-un's recent activities are seen as an effort to boost military morale and show his commitment to national security," said Yang Moo-jin of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul. "It also seems to show the regime's stability following Jang Song-thaek's execution."