World Bulletin/News Desk
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has visited a frontline military detachment, state media reported, and reminded troops of their duty to fight a "sacred war" against any provocation by South Korea.
His visit, and his recent resumption of "field guidance" to military units, precede annual war games by allies South Korea and the United States. The military drills are scheduled to begin on Monday and continue until Aug. 31.
State news agency KCNA said Kim, who came to power in December 2011 after the death of his father, visited the same artillery unit that launched a deadly attack on South Korea's Yeonpyeong island near the western sea border two years ago.
Kim inspected the unit on Mu island, which KCNA said was "stationed in the biggest hotspot in the southernmost part of the southwest front". The report was released on Friday and was monitored in the South on Saturday.
"He ordered the servicepersons ... 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 the DPRK is exercised," KCNA said of Kim's guidance to his Democratic People's Republic of Korea troops.
Kim also said the Korean People's Army should then "lead the battle to a sacred war for national reunification, not confining it to a local war on the southwest region", KCNA reported.
He also observed that Yeonpyeong island was "clearly visible" from the post on Mu island, according to KCNA.
Pyongyang, impoverished and isolated, has periodically used the term "sacred war" to counter what it sees as a threat from the South and its key ally the United States.
It has also branded this month's military drills "an all-out war rehearsal" for an invasion of the North.
Seoul and Washington say the drill, which will mobilise more than 85,000 servicemen, including some 30,000 U.S. troops, is only for defensive purposes.
In February, the North raised its level of military alert after South Korean and U.S. military staged live-fire artillery drills in the same area near the disputed sea border off the west coast.
The North's shelling of Yeonpyeong island in November 2010 killed four people, including two civilians, and was the first attack on civilians since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. The two sides are technically still at war, having signed only a truce rather than a peace treaty.
It was not clear from the KCNA report when Kim visited the military unit on Mu island. KCNA reported earlier this month he had also visited an army unit identified only as "Unit 552".
Kim, in his late twenties, has focused many of his trips since inheriting dynastic power on encouraging workers and promoting nationwide economic projects.
That prompted many East Asia watchers to speculate he might have given up on the military-first policies of his father, Kim Jong-il.
Vladimir Putin's justification for intervening in Ukraine to protect Russian speakers there has alarmed many in the Baltics
Moscow has cited the need to protect the rights of the ethnic Russian minority in Ukraine as the official reason for its military intervention
His scarce appearances have prompted doubts about how he will campaign, what happens if he falls ill and who succeeds him if his health forces him to step down in his fourth term.
International Criminal Court judge said that without Katanga's aid in procuring firearms, the attack would not have been as bloody.
American ambassador shakes hands with Modi recently, who is accused of turning blind eye to deadly religious riots in 2002 that killed hundreds of Muslims
The walls surrounding Ceuta and Melilla have been called 'Europe's wall of shame' by many critics.
Russia's upper house of parliament will support their decision, the assembly's speaker said, as West and China differ on sanctions against Russia
The survey suggests public support for Chancellor Angela Merkel's stance. She has been cautious about imposing anything but symbolic sanctions on Russia
The protesters have scaled back action over the past week, lifting the occupation of several main intersections, but several thousand are camping out in Bangkok's Lumpini Park, where shooting erupted
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that the government would not hesitate to bomb militant hideouts or send forces into the tribal areas if the Taliban did not abide by the ceasefire
The military operation is described as part of the Somali government's campaign to flush out the group from areas under its control.
Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem told the ANP news agency the assets were suspect.
The announcement comes after U.N. representative Robert Serry had to abandon a mission to Crimea on Wednesday
Nine Russian soldiers who were in Canada for preplanned military exercises will be deported from the country, officials said on Thursday.
The report shows that not only do freedom of navigation operations occur with adversary countries such as Iran, but also allied countries such as the Philippines and Malaysia
The most serious east-west confrontation since the end of the Cold War escalated on Thursday when Crimea's parliament, dominated by ethnic Russians, voted to join Russia. The region's government set a referendum for March 16 - in just nine days' time.