Kim Jong-un Watches Drill Targeting S.Korean Islands

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is encouraging military drills targeting South Korean missile bases on Baeknyeong and Yeonpyeong islands, which are perilously close to the North Korean coast.

Kim recently watched a combined landing exercise of the Army, Navy, and Air Force mobilizing submarines, artillery, fighter jets and bombers near Wonsan, Kangwon Province, the official Rodong Sinmun reported Saturday.

Saying North Korea's "southwestern waters" (meaning the Northern Limit Line, the de-facto maritime border) are "under a constant threat from the enemy," Kim said, "We're thinking very seriously and waiting for the right moment" to strike.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reads a document during his inspection of a military drill in Wonsan, Kangwon Province, in this photo published in the official Rodong Sinmun on Saturday. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reads a document during his inspection of a military drill in Wonsan, Kangwon Province, in this photo published in the official Rodong Sinmun on Saturday.

A picture in the daily showed Kim holding a document headlined "measures and ways for tactical drills." A blowup shows it to refer directly to "a strike on a Spike base."

"Spike" is the name of a guided missile with a range of 25 km deployed by South Korean Marines on Baeknyeong and Yeonpyeong islands to attack North Korean coastal artillery batteries.

A government source here said, "The implication is that North Korea has an operational plan in place for a prompt landing on the islands once it neutralizes South Korea's precision-guided missiles and other defensive systems there." 

The North also reportedly fired live torpedoes from a 1,800-ton Romeo-class submarine during the drills.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jul. 07, 2014 09:33 KST