Beijing: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Saturday inspected a frontline artillery unit ahead of a planned South Korea-US annual joint military exercise, state media reported.
During his visit to the unit of the Korean People's Army (KPA) on the Mu islet on the southwest front, Kim praised the service members and told them never to tolerate any enemy aggression, Xinhua reported citing North Korea's official news agency KCNA.
The annual joint drills between South Korea and the US, code-named "Ulchi Freedom Guardian", are set for August 20-31 and will involve around 56,000 South Korean troops and 30,000 US soldiers.
"If the enemy dares recklessly pre-empt firing and even a single shell drops on the territory of North Korea, the KPA should lead the battle to a sacred war for national reunification, not confining it to a local war on the southwest region," Kim was quoted as saying.
He also ordered the KPA to turn the sea into a "graveyard of the invaders".
Kim, also supreme commander of the KPA, carefully observed the Yonphyong Island from a post and expressed satisfaction over the combat posture of the detachment.
North and South Korea exchanged fierce artillery fire near Yonphyong Island in November 2010, killing four South Koreans. Both sides accused the other of firing the first shot.
"This islet is not only the biggest hotspot on the Korean Peninsula but a very sensitive area on which world attention is focused and where the interests of many countries are intermingled," Kim was quoted as saying.
Xinhua said the North Korean leader criticised the US and South Korea for "threatening peace and stability of not only North Korea but of the region and the rest of the world".
He ordered the servicemen to be vigilant "against every move of the enemy" and "not to miss their golden chance to deal at once deadly counter-blows at the enemy" if even a single shell is dropped on the waters or in the area where the sovereignty of North Korea is exercised, KCNA said.
First Published: Saturday, August 18, 2012, 19:28