North Korea Conducts Artillery Drill under Kim Jong-un Command

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By Vasudevan Sridharan | February 26, 2013 5:48 PM EST

File photo of North Korea leader Kim Jong-un holding a weapon in North Korea - Reuters

North Korea has conducted a live fire artillery drill under its leader Kim Jong-un's supervision to coincide with the new government's takeover in Seoul.

The exercise was conducted to check whether the North could "fight an actual war" amid tensions in the Korean peninsula.

Although the exact details of the drill have not been revealed by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), it is believed to have taken place around the time when the first female president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, was being sworn in.

Kim, who is the supreme commander of the armed forces and also holds the rank of marshal, was said to be satisfied with readiness of his army men.

If the drill had taken place in an actual war situation, Kim reportedly said, the enemies would be "hit so hard they would not have been able to raise their heads". He added that the troops are waiting for the order of "final attack" and are always on high alert.

Kim told his forces that the army must be able to carry out operations to leave a "merciless blow" on its adversaries.

North Korea had recently conducted its third nuclear test amid an international outcry and has indicated that more such measures are imminent especially directed at South Korea and the US.

Reports from Seoul suggest that Kim has increased his number of visits to army units in the secretive country creating worries for the South.

"Kim Jong-un's frequent military visits are seen as part of his military-first policies and attempts to intensify threats against South Korea. We are closely observing his military inspections," South Korea's defence ministry spokesperson Kim Min-seok told a press conference.

An official with the ministry of unification in South Korea told Yonhap news agency on the condition of anonymity: "The leader's moves are not the kind of 'right action' urged by the international community, yet they are not unexpected either. They started commenting on the previous administration in April 2008 after waiting about a month."

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