S Korea keeps close eye on North's military

2014-01-23 09:06
Kim Jong Un. (KCNA, AFP)

Kim Jong Un. (KCNA, AFP)

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Seoul - South Korea said on Thursday it was scrutinising North Korea's military activities following a series of publicised army visits by leader Kim Jong-Un.

The North's state media has given prominent coverage in recent days to Kim's visits to two strategic units, including a paratrooper brigade both of which demonstrated their ability to destroy enemy installations "at lightning speed".

Kim heads the North's top military body, the national defence commission, and such inspection tours are not unusual.

But the latest visits come as South Korea is warning Pyongyang might be planning some sort of provocation ahead of South Korea-US joint military drills scheduled to begin late on February.

Top South Korean officials, including the intelligence chief and defence minister, held a security meeting on Thursday at the presidential Blue House.

Unimaginable holocaust

Defence ministry spokesperson Kim Min-Seok told reporters that Seoul was following the recent string of Kim visits with "keen interest".

Kim noted that both units visited by the North Korean leader were "offensive in nature" and cited intelligence reports that the North had, in recent years, doubled the number of strategic troops trained in infiltration to 200 000.

"The frequent media coverage of such [military] visits seem to underscore the possibility of the North's potential provocations targeting the South", the spokesperson said.

Pyongyang has condemned the South's annual joint drills with the US military as a rehearsal for invasion and warned of an "unimaginable holocaust" if they go ahead again this year.

South Korea also believes the North may be spoiling for a confrontation as a way of cementing national unity after the shock execution last month of Kim Jong-Un's uncle and political mentor Jang Song-Thaek.

Read more on:    kim jong un  |  north korea  |  south korea
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