Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
DPRK state media reported on 13 March (Wednesday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) supervised and observed live fire artillery exercises by Korean People’s Army [KPA] island defense units. The exercises occurred in the West (Yellow) Sea. KJU’s last reported public appearance was his attendance of a concert by the art propaganda squad of KPA Unit #531. Attending the live fire exercises with KJU were VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Gen. Hyon Yong Chol, Gen. Kim Kyok Sik, Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary Pak To Chun, Lt. Gen. Ri Yong Gil, Col. Gen. Son Chol Ju, Gen. Kim Yong Chol and other members of the KPA command.
After arriving at the observation site, KJU was briefed about the deployment of the artillery units and the planning for the live exercises. KCNA reported that “shells intensively hit the imaginary targets of the enemy while the roar of the artillery pieces rocked heaven and earth” and that “whenever artillerymen hit the targets, he [KJU] was greatly satisfied to watch them.” As he observed the exercises conducted by the Mu Islet Hero Defense Detachment and Jangjae Islet Defense Attachment, Kim Jong Un said “The Jangjae Islet Defence Detachment and the Mu Islet Hero Defence Detachment are the best and the hero artillery pieces of the Mu Islet Defence Detachment are matchless. The artillerymen could hit the targets as they have undergone highly intense trainings while thinking of the day to fight,” according to KCNA which described KJU’s remarks as “the highest appraisal from the Supreme Commander for their success in the drill.”
KCNA reported that KJU “recalled that he specified the order of precision strike and density of fire on targets while inspecting forefront posts in the southwestern sector and western sector of the front, adding that through the live shell firing drill the artillerymen of the Fourth Army Corps proved themselves that they are ready to throw the enemies on Taeyonphyong and Paekryong Islands into flames” and said “As I always stressed, a modern war is an artillery war and preparations for an artillery battle mean the preparations of the KPA and they are an important factor of deciding a victory in the great war for national reunification.” After the exercises Kim Jong Un poses for commemorative photographs with service members and officers of the Mu Islet and Jangjae Islet defense units, who “were highly praised for their successes in the live shell firing drill.”