N Korea’s leader meets senior military officers, leads artillery drill

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Leader of North Korea Kim Jong-Un has carried out a rash of visits to military installations and chaired a meeting of senior figures in the armed forces, state media said Sunday, amid global unease over a possible nuclear test. The announcement by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) comes the day after US President Barack Obama lambasted the North as a “pariah” and said any atomic blast would lead to “more isolation”.

After a series of visits to observe army drills over the last few days, Kim presided over an enlarged meeting of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the ruling Workers’ Party, KCNA said. The meeting discussed ways to “win victory… in the confrontation with the US” as well as “organizational matters”, the report said, suggesting a potential personnel reshuffle.

On Saturday, the agency said Kim had chided soldiers, telling them to be ready for “impending conflict with the United States”. Sunday’s dispatch said Kim had led long-range artillery drills by the army unit “tasked to hit major targets” near the tense Yellow Sea border.

According to AFP, the young leader, who is supreme commander of the North’s 1.2-million-strong armed forces, gave his seal of approval to the exercise, saying “All the shells… accurately hit their targets”.

Kim’s flurry of military activity came as the world was watching for signs Pyongyang was readying to carry out another atomic test. Pyongyang last month said it would not rule out a “new form” of nuclear test after the UN Security Council condemned its latest medium-range missile launches. Experts saw this as a possible reference to testing a uranium-based device or a miniaturized warhead small enough to fit on a ballistic missile.

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