April 26, 2010 08:58
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il on Saturday visited the 115th Army Unit, where he watched a massive drill marking the 78th anniversary of the North Korean military.
"As soon as an order was given to begin the exercise, various kinds of artillery pieces discharged shells. Their powerful gunfire razed an [hypothetical] enemy camp to the ground and turned it into a sea of fire in an instant. A river-crossing unit led by tanks rained fire on the enemy and seized the river area immediately," [North] Korean Central Broadcasting reported.
In the drill, the military mobilized multi-barrel rocket launchers capable of hitting Seoul and vicinity directly. The 170 mm self-propelled guns and 240 mm MBRLs the North has deployed forward have ranges of 40 to 90 km.
The North's official KCNA news agency on Sunday quoted Kim as saying after the drill, "The People's Army has grown into a strong army fortified with an unchangeable determination to guard the leader and to become bombs and blow themselves up. Now the soldiers are ready to defeat and thwart any invasion by the enemy at the right moment."
Kim was accompanied by Jon Byong-ho, the director of the Munitions Industry Department, as well as the Navy and Air Force commanders who were recently promoted to full generals. The 115th Army Unit is an armored infantry brigade stationed in Pyongwon-gun, South Pyongan Province.
A South Korean government official said, "I understand that it was a kind of show of force the North staged because it is suspected of involvement in the sinking of the Cheonan." The South Korean Navy corvette sank after an unexplained explosion in the West Sea on March 26.
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