Screaming crowds greet Kim on frontline

2013-03-08 16:02
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un meets with family of a soldier as he inspects Jangjae Islet Defence Detachment near South Korea's Taeyonphyong Island. (Picture: AFP)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un meets with family of a soldier as he inspects Jangjae Islet Defence Detachment near South Korea's Taeyonphyong Island. (Picture: AFP)

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Seoul - North Korean television broadcast emotional scenes on Friday of cheering soldiers and their young families greeting leader Kim Jong-Un as he visited a frontline unit that shelled the South in 2010.

With tensions surging on the Korean peninsula, Kim said the North's military was "fully ready to fight a Korean style all-out war," as he visited two islands close to the disputed maritime border on Thursday, state media said.

Footage of the visit showed him being greeted by chanting troops who were held back as they surged towards him.

Their families brought their children to meet him, with one woman encouraging her daughter forward for a hug.

At the end of the trip, the soldiers ran down to the beach and waded chest deep into the freezing water clutching at Kim's motor launch as it moved away.

The tour coincided with an outpouring of vitriol from Pyongyang over UN sanctions imposed for its nuclear test last month, with the North threatening pre-emptive nuclear strikes on the US and its allies, and vowing to rip up peace pacts with South Korea.

Speaking to troops stationed on the islands, Kim said the slightest provocation would result in his immediate order for a "great advance" along the entire frontline with the South, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

On Mu island he inspected artillery units that shelled the nearby South Korean island of Yeonpyeong in November 2010, killing four people and triggering an exchange of fire that sparked fears of a full-blown conflict.

State television showed Kim inspecting the craters left by South artillery shells on the island in what he described as the "most gratifying" battle since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

The television footage showed him with binoculars looking across at Yeonpyeong Island and apparently discussing target selection with the artillery officers.

"He reconfirmed in detail reinforced fire power strike means and targets of the enemy deployed on five islets," including Yeonpyeong island and "defined the order of precision strikes" on those targets, KCNA said.

Kim was accompanied on his tour by top members of the North Korean leadership, including political commissar Choe Ryong-Hae and Defence Minister Kim Kyok-Sik.

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