Kim Jong-un Hails Unit That Attacked S.Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Friday visited the military unit that shelled South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island in November 2010. Kim described the unit, which is stationed on Mu Islet just 7 km from Yeonpyeong, as "heroic defenders," according to the official KCNA news agency.

North Korean state media said Kim boarded a small unarmed wooden boat with just a few aides to reach the islet.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un smiles in a wooden boat on Friday on his way to the military unit that shelled Yeonpyeong Island in November 2010. /[North] Korean Central News Agency North Korean leader Kim Jong-un smiles in a wooden boat on Friday on his way to the military unit that shelled Yeonpyeong Island in November 2010. /[North] Korean Central News Agency

A South Korean military official said, "It's quite surprising that he took that kind of a boat without bodyguards when visiting a frontline area within reach of South Korean guns. It seems to have been set up to show off his pluck and nerve."

Kim's visit come ahead of annual joint drills between South Korean and U.S. forces that start Monday. North Korean media mentioned the exercise several times.

Kim "looked over the South, where dark clouds of war are due to the commotion created by our enemies' exercises," KCNA said.

In February, prior to another annual joint drill, Kim also inspected the corps that led the attack on Yeonpyeong.

englishnews@chosun.com / Aug. 20, 2012 13:41 KST