North Korean leader visits military base

Feb. 21, 2013 at 2:29 AM
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PYONGYANG, North Korea, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un toured an anti-aircraft unit just days after the country's nuclear test, the official media said Thursday.

"Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army Kim Jong Un inspected KPA Unit 323," said the Korean Central News Agency monitored in Seoul, Yonhap news reported. The North conducted a nuclear test on Feb. 12, it third since 2006, in violation of its U.N. sanctions.

The KCNA report did not mention the date of Kim's visit but said the unit is part of the KPA's air force and anti-aircraft defense sector.

The report quoted the North Korean leader, who came to power in December 2011, as saying "he attaches the greatest importance to this unit, which President Kim Il Sung (the leader's grandfather) and Kim Jong Il (the leader's father) considered as important."

Kim urged the soldiers to "further step up preparations for battles ... and play a big role in the showdown with the enemies."

Experts, noting the importance Kim showed to Unit 323, said it may be the unit related to North Korea's missile activities, Yonhap reported. His visit also reflected efforts to cheer the military as well as his intention to show off the military's readiness to the outside world.

In Washington Wednesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney in his media briefing dismissed as "provocative propaganda" a North Korean video showing the U.S. President surrounded by flames, suggesting a nuclear attack.

"I read about it. I haven't seen it," Carney said. "I would simply say that provocative propaganda is far less concerning to us and to our allies than provocative actions that violate North Korea's commitments to the United Nations and the international community, its flagrant violations of its commitments when it comes to its nuclear weapons program."

Carney said the United States is working with its allies to "isolate and pressure North Korea appropriately, given its continuing defiance of its international obligations."

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