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`NK Heir Apparent Directed Artillery Drills in Jan.`

Posted March. 02, 2010 09:21,   


North Korea’s artillery drills in the western inter-Korean sea border early this year was personally directed by heir apparent Kim Jong Un, a ranking source in Pyongyang said yesterday.

Kim Jong Un is the third son of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and is being groomed to succeed his father.

Kim Jong Il reportedly visited in person the sites of the artillery drills several times and gave military officials words of encouragement. The drills were reportedly conducted early this year based on a thesis written by Kim Jong Un, who is known to have graduated from the country’s top military school.

○ Artillery major

The source said Kim Jong Un attended the artillery department of Kim Il Sung Military University and received private tutoring. A selected faculty team reportedly gave lectures to him through a glass wall designed to prevent them from seeing him.

Only several professors favored by Kim Jong Un have been allowed to see and talk to him, the source said.

The source said Kim Jong Il made unprecedented surprise visits and conducted inspections of the drills at artillery units every month between January and March last year because of his son. The drills were based on Kim Jong Un’s thesis, and the junior Kim was the general commander of the drills.

The Japanese daily Mainichi Shimbun in October last year reported on lecture materials designed to idolize Kim Jong Un. “Kim is a genius well versed in modern military science and technology, highly skilled in the artillery field, and has created a new and highly accurate military map exuding a three-dimensional look,” the materials were quoted as saying.

○ Raising attack capability

The artillery drills conducted Jan. 27-28 this year were “time on target” firing, referring to the simultaneous shelling of cannon balls of different sizes at the same target.

At the time of the drills, the North Korean military fired more than 100 shots of 130-millimeter coastal guns, 170-millimeter self-propelled guns, and 240-millimeter multi-rocket launchers. Experts said the shells hit the exact target.

The January drills used the same method of artillery drills employed in person by Kim Jong Un and inspected by his father last year. Sources say the latest drills in the western inter-Korean sea border were meant to demonstrate Pyongyang’s capacity to strike a specific target in Seoul, and promote Kim Jong Un’s achievements internally.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency aired Feb. 16 a documentary featuring the firing of self-propelled artillery and long-range guns for 30 seconds. The show confirmed that Kim Jong Il inspected a joint military drill of the North Korean army, navy and air force.

The exercise reportedly mobilized more than 10 units of 240-millimeter multi-rocket launchers Jan.17, 10 days before the artillery drill in the Yellow Sea. This could mean the North’s artillery drills in late January were directed in person by Kim Jong Un under approval from his father.

○ Progress in power succession process

The source in Pyongyang also said the power succession process for Kim Jong Un is making headway. The North Korean military is spearheading this in compliance with the “military first” politics of the North.

The North’s ruling Workers’ Party has held lectures praising Kim Jong Un since May last year. The military also discussed “issues for establishing leadership under compatriot Kim Jong Un” in a lecture for ranking military commanders in January last year.

“Steps,” a song praising Kim Jong Un, was introduced to the military first in February last year. It was released to the North Korean populace several months later.

A year has passed since the designation of Kim Jong Un as the heir apparent, but his succession process is the top priority in all plans, decisions and reports of the Workers` Party and labor organizations.

North Koreans must also write a statement promising support for the leadership of Kim Jong Un at the end of all pledges, including the party’s membership pledge, resumes of senior members, and oaths.