North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Kim Jong Il Conducts KPA Field Inspections After “Sea of Fire” Statement

Kim Jong Il (6th L) stands for a commemorative photo following his inspection of KPA large combined Unit #233. (KCNA-Yonhap)

A view of Kaemori, South Hwanghae Province (Photo: Google image)

Kim Jong Il traveled to South Hwanghae Province and inspected two Korean People’s Army [KPA] units, one day after the KPA Supreme Command issued a report that threatened “a sea of fire” in the south.  DPRK media reported on 26 November that he inspected KPA Air Force (KPAF) Unit #1016 and KPA large combined unit (taeyonhap pudae) #233, described by KCNA as being in “the western sector of the front.”  KCNA reports:

He expressed great satisfaction over the fact that the commanding officers and servicepersons of the unit have turned all operational theatres into impregnable fortresses to devotedly protect the Party, the revolution, the country and its people and firmly guarantee the great revolutionary surge with a powerful military force and are fully prepared to beat back any enemy’s surprise invasion in good time.

He praised them for standing firm guard over the forefront of the country with strong fighting spirit and faith in sure victory to wipe out all enemies on this land with just retaliatory blows and get the Korean people’s long-pent up grudge settled without fail if they disturb the DPRK’s legitimate exercise of sovereignty through reckless saber-rattling.

He expressed expectation and conviction that all servicepersons of the unit would boost its combat capability in every way to cope with the enemies’ provocations and consolidate all its defense theatres as firm as a rock, thus performing laudable military feats on the sacred road of defending the country.

This photo shows a graveyard (circled in red) in the North Korean border county of Kangnyong in South Hwanghae Province. The photo was taken from an observatory on South Korea's western border island of Yeonpyeong on Nov. 21, 2011, the first anniversary of North Korea's indiscriminate bombardment on the island. Scores of tombs were built recently in the graveyards, sparking off assumptions that they might be coastal positions. (Yonhap)

Kim Jong Il visits a stone factory in an image broadcast on KCTV 26 November. Also seen in attendance are Kim Jong Un (R) and Gen. Hyon Chol Hae (2nd R) (Photo: KCNA-Yonhap)

Kim Jong Il’s visit to the area followed reports that the KPA added or reinforced a number of coastal artillery positions.  According to ROK media, some coastal artillery guns may have been placed and concealed in a cemetery in Kangryong County.  Incidentally, Kim Jong Il was reported to have visited a stone factory on 25 November.  During his KPA inspections KJI was reported to be accompanied by Pak Jae Gyong, Kim Won Hong, Jang Song Taek, Kim Jong Un, Ri Yong Ho, Hyon Chol Hae and Kim Kyong Ok.  Also reported to be in attendance were “staff members of the KPA Supreme Command.”    On 24 November (Thursday) the KPA Supreme Command published a report denouncing ROK military exercises held in the West Sea:

The military warmongers dared to announce that the rehearsal is aimed to remind the DPRK of victims and lesson from the Yonphyong Island Shelling and review their “perfect readiness for counteraction.”

It is also intended to show their will to decisively punish “not only the base of provocation but also commanding posts of all echelons including supporters in the north” with the combined forces of three services in case the DPRK starts a military action, they asserted.

As for last year’s Yonphyong Island shelling, it was a legitimate self-defensive step against the provocateurs who dared to make a clumsy fire on the inviolable territorial waters of the DPRK despite its army’s advance warning.

This being a hard reality, they launched the anti-DPRK war rehearsal far from drawing due lesson on the first anniversary of the shelling. It is little short of a new political and military provocation to the army and people of the DPRK.

Such disgusting behavior by the military warmongers, who go recklessly without knowing about the present trend of situation and their domestic condition, will arouse criticism and ridicules from among the people at home and abroad.

They should not forget the lesson taught by the Yonphyong Island Shelling one year ago.

They should be mindful that If they dare to impair the dignity of the DPRK again and fire one bullet or shell toward its inviolable territorial waters, sky and land, the deluge of fire on Yonphyong Island will lead to that in Chongwadae and the sea of fire in Chongwadae to the deluge of fire sweeping away the stronghold of the group of traitors.

The DPRK revolutionary armed forces are in full readiness to go into a decisive battle to counter any military provocation.

This report was one of several missives issued by the DPRK during the week that marked one year since the 23 November 2010 Yo’np’yo’ng Island artillery shelling incident which resulted in the death of two ROK Marines and two civilians.  According to Yonhap, the first mention of the anniversary appeared in a 22 November essay on Urminjjokkiri which said West Sea exercises were “clearly an attempt to create another military provocation like the Yeonpyong-do incident, and ultimately carry out an all-out attack on the North.”  This essay was similar to information bulletin #987 released by the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea [CPRK]:

They are seriously mistaken if they think they will go scot-free after they commit provocation in the future, too.

The puppet group is kicking off the sinister confrontation racket, instead of drawing due lesson from last year’s Yonphyong Island shelling case. Such action will bring itself to shame and reveal its colors as a war hawk more glaringly.

The reality clearly shows that “flexibility of the policy toward the north” much touted by the group is no more than wordplay to deceive the public opinion.

The puppet group has only the extreme hostility toward fellow countrymen and sinister intention to go for confrontation and war with the DPRK.

Its reckless confrontation moves are a last-ditch effort to arrest the daily growing demand of the South Korean people for switchover in the policy toward the north, quell the desire for reunification through alliance with the north and free itself from the wretched plight into which it has been driven at home and abroad due to its serious ruling crisis.

The army and people of the DPRK are now in full readiness to go into action and annihilate the enemy, with surging indignation at the evermore pronounced anti-DPRK smear campaign and war moves of the puppet group.

ROK officials did not respond to the DPRK’s statements.  Yonhap reports:

“We don’t find it worth responding to North Korean rhetoric that flies in the face of common sense,” a military official said on the condition of anonymity. “If North Korea wants to engage in dialogue, it should stop clinging to irrational logic and immediately apologize for its torpedoing of the Cheonan warship and its shelling of Yeonpyeong Island.”

The official was referring to two deadly armed provocations by North Korea last year, which killed 50 South Koreans, mostly soldiers.

Another official at the Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, also made a similar comment on the North’s latest harsh rhetoric.

On Thursday, the North’s military threatened to turn Cheong Wa Dae, South Korea’s presidential office, into “a sea of fire.” It came a day after South Korea held military exercises in the Yellow Sea to mark the first anniversary of the Yeonpyeong shelling.

The South Korean official said these exercises only strengthened the military’s defense posture and its determination to strike back against future North Korean provocations.

“If North Korea provokes again, our forces will thoroughly punish them and make them regret their action,” the official said.

Sources said North Korea put its forces on heightened alert as South Korea staged exercises in the Yellow Sea.

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