North Korea's new leader visits army

2012-01-19 14:00
Seoul - North Korea's Kim Jong-Un has visited an army unit, state media said on Thursday, as the new leader and head of the armed forces seeks to burnish his military credentials.

Soldiers were "enthusiastically cheering in tears of emotion" as Kim toured a military base and took photos with troops, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

It was the second reported visit by Kim, the youngest son of late leader Kim Jong-Il, to a military unit this month and the latest attempt to help the inexperienced leader tighten his grip on power.

Jong-Un toured the base as his "father would do", said KCNA, without disclosing the location or date of the visit.

Army top brass including Ri Yong-Ho, the chief of the military's general staff, accompanied him. The unit was previously visited by Kim Jong-Il and his father, founding president Kim Il-Sung.

Jong-Un, believed to be in his late 20s, was proclaimed supreme leader and appointed commander of the 1.2-million-strong military following the death of his father on December 17 of a heart attack.

Propaganda campaign

Under the North's policy known as Songun, the military's needs are prioritised over those of civilians.

Little is known about the untested Jong-Un, who was given top party posts and made a general in 2010 despite scant military experience.

The North has launched a propaganda campaign to build a personality cult around the new leader, like that enjoyed by his father and grandfather, who had near-godlike status.

The Kim dynasty has ruled the impoverished but nuclear-armed state for more than six decades with an iron fist.

- SAPA
Read more on:    kim jong-un  |  kim jong il  |  north korea
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