N Korea’s Kim observes military drill amid threats
Seoul: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has observed a military exercise involving tanks, planes and artillery, official media said on Saturday amid continuing threats by Pyongyang against South Korea.
Kim, supreme commander of the 1.2 million-strong military, "guided" the drill staged to mark the 80th anniversary of the armed forces, the state news agency reported without giving a date for the exercise.
"He called for mercilessly wiping out the enemies with the arms of justice and revenge if they dare provoke," it said.
The North has threatened "sacred war" against the South's conservative government in retaliation for perceived insults during Pyongyang's commemoration this month of the centenary of the birth of founding leader Kim Il-Sung.
There is also widespread speculation that the North may carry out another nuclear test following international criticism of its failed rocket launch on April 13.
South Korean and US defence officials see a "very high" chance of another test, Seoul's Deputy Defence Minister Lim Kwan-Bin was quoted as saying yesterday in Washington.
"The assessment of South Korea and the US is that chances are very high that North Korea will carry out a nuclear experiment," Yonhap news agency quoted him as saying after two days of meetings with senior Pentagon officials.
"(We) can't predict the specific timing of it, but it is believed to be possible any time."
Lim said he had no firm evidence but cited Pyongyang's record of conducting nuclear tests following criticism of long-range missile launches in 2006 and 2009.
"There are many opinions that there is a high possibility that it will go ahead with a nuclear test to make up for the failed missile launch," he was quoted as saying.
South Korean and US officials reaffirmed they would stage a tough response to any additional provocations by the North, Lim said. The US bases 28,500 troops in the South.