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Kim Jong Un inspects North Korean artillery unit near disputed border

By Elizabeth Shim
Kim Jong Un inspects North Korean artillery unit near disputed border
North Korea’s Kim Jong Un visited a military outpost recently, state media reported Friday. File Photo by Rodong Sinmun

SEOUL, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Kim Jong Un provided field guidance to a North Korean artillery unit, telling soldiers to "do their share" should fighting erupt on the peninsula.

The tour of troops took place on Mahap Island, not far from the South Korean island of Baengnyeong, Yonhap reported.

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Pyongyang's state-controlled news agency KCNA stated on Friday, "Comrade Kim Jong Un inspected the Mahap Island military base on the western front and gave shooting orders during training."

The report described a "roar of gunfire" after Kim issued the order and that the shots landed accurately and on target.

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"If fighting breaks out, Mahap Island soldiers must firmly do their share," Kim reportedly said.

North Korea state media also said Kim provided "valuable lessons" on fighting preparations, while expressing considerable affection for the troops.

"I would like to carry on my back all soldiers who hit their targets," Kim said, while ordering them to turn the island into an "unassailable fortress."

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Kim also toured a ward, recreational spaces and restaurants and inquired about issues important to the soldiers, including their children's education, according to KCNA.

North Korea has not engaged in any nuclear or missile provocations, but Donald Trump's victory in the U.S. presidential election poses uncertainty for Pyongyang, according to South Korean news service Edaily.

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Trump has offered a wide range of positions ranging from openness to talks with Kim to condemning the North Korean leader as a "maniac."

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Paik Hak-soon, a researcher at South Korea's Sejong Institute, says North Korea would most likely meet a hardline remark from the new U.S. administration with an equally hardline response.

But Pyongyang is also likely to seek opportunities for dialogue and negotiations, Paik said.

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