Kim Jong-il reviews military drills

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Kim Jong-il reviews military drills

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, right, watches military drills, left, ahead of the 98th birthday of his father, the late former leader Kim Il Sung, North Korean media reported yesterday. [YONHAP]


North Korean leader Kim Jong-il attended military drills ahead of the 98th birthday of his father, the late former leader Kim Il Sung, North Korean media reported yesterday. They didn’t provide details on when or where Kim Jong-il watched the exercises. Kim Il Sung’s birthday is today.

According to the media reports, Kim Jong-il watched the combined drills by the Large Combined Unit 567 of the Korean People’s Army. The reports said Kim “mounted an observation platform” for the occasion and that he later offered guidelines that would help develop the North Korean military into a formidable force.

According to the Korean Central News Agency, Kim Jong-il visited one of the unit’s pig farms in January and met with the unit’s command in April 1999. The news agency also added that the 567 unit produced more than 100 “republic heroes” for their roles in victorious battles during the Korean War.

Accompanying Kim to the drills were some of North Korea’s top military officials, including Kim Yong-chun, minister of the People’s Armed Forces; Ri Yong-mu and O Kuk-ryol, both vice chairmen of the National Defense Commission; Ri Yong-ho, chief of the Korean People’s Army general staff; and Kim Jong-gak, senior deputy director of the general political bureau at the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces.

The media added that in addition to these officials, those working in the fields of science, art, health and publishing also attended the exercises. Kim Jong-il has previously visited military bases ahead of Kim Il Sung’s birthdays, but before this year high-ranking government figures had not joined him.


By Yoo Jee-ho [jeeho@joongang.co.kr]

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