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NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 104 (April 29, 2010)
*** TOPIC OF THE WEEK (Part 2)

N. Korea Demonstrates Military Power on Army Founding Anniversary

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- On the occasion of the 78th founding anniversary of the North Korean armed forces on April 25, North Korea has demonstrated its military capabilities with its leader Kim Jong-il visiting army units and military officials pledging loyalty to Kim.

   In various occasions marking the military anniversary, North Korean officials openly reaffirmed their resolution to "crush back the invasion of imperialist enemies," while describing the situation of the present Korean Peninsula as "grave."
North Korea's media including its main newspaper of the Workers' Party said the North can now launch its own satellite into space and is a member of the nuclear armed countries.

   On April 24, Kim Jong-il observed a military drill by the 115 unit of the (North) Korean People's Army (KPA) and said his army is ready to crush any outside attacks, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

   The report did not say where the unit was based or exactly when the 68-year-old leader watched the drill. The leader's latest inspection of a military drill was reported on April 14 when the socialist country celebrated the birthday of its late founding leader Kim Il-sung.

   On the very day of the army anniversary, Kim inspected the headquarters of an army unit believed to conduct terrorism and overseas spy operations.

   According to the KCNA, monitored in Seoul, Kim toured the command of KPA Unit 586 and praised the dedication shown by its soldiers in the service of the country.

   He was accompanied by high-ranking officers and officials from the Ministry of People's Armed Forces. Kim inspected the equipment and command and control facilities, the report said, calling for redoubled efforts to enhance the unit's fighting capabilities.

   Details about the unit were not revealed by the KCNA, but intelligence sources in Seoul said Unit 586 is another name for the reconnaissance bureau under the Ministry of the People's Armed Forces. The unit is believed to command the North's operations in South Korea and overseas, and to be in charge of terrorism efforts.

   The reconnaissance bureau is one of the three power groups within the North Korean military, together with the General Political Department and the General Staff of the KPA, military sources in Seoul said.

   Kim was quoted as the KCNA as saying: "The unit has a long history as it has performed laudable feats in the defense of the country ... by displaying unrivaled patriotic devotion and popular heroism in the struggle for the party, the leader, the country and the people, from the period of the hard-fought war up to this date."

   Kim also inspected the operating command room and military study rooms of the unit to learn more about its training, the KCNA said.

   Marking the military anniversary, North Korea claimed it is nuclear weapons power that can indigenously develop modern arms to meet current military requirements, a state-run Internet outlet monitored in Seoul said on April 25.

   "Uriminzokkiri," Pyongyang's Internet-based mouthpiece, cited an editorial in the daily Rodong Sinmun as saying the North can now launch its own satellite into space and is one of the world's nuclear-armed countries.

   The editorial stressed that North Korea is ready to meet all military provocations. The newspaper, an organ of the ruling Worker's Party of Korea, added that if adversaries were to violate just a fraction of North Korea's territory, the military is respond with a "rain of fire."

   "If the imperialist enemies intrude into the sky, land and waters of the DPRK (North Korea) even 0.001mm, its army will beat them back at a stroke by mercilessly showering bombs and shells on them," the daily said.

   Related to the anniversary, the KCNA, meanwhile, said that representatives of the Workers' Party, the military, government officials visited the national cemetery to pay respects. On April 24, the eve of the anniversary, the Ministry of the People's Armed Forces invited military attaches in Pyongyang to a special reception.

   Meanwhile, a national meeting was held to commemorate the military anniversary at the April 25 House of Culture, with senior party, army and state officials attending.

   KPA general Ri Yong-ho, chief of the General Staff of the KPA, said in his report that the "triumphant history and tradition of the Korean revolutionary armed forces have been successfully carried forward generation after generation under the outstanding and seasoned leadership of Kim Jong-il."

   He added that a "grave" situation is now prevailing on the Korean Peninsula due to the "reckless moves of the U.S. imperialists and the South Korean puppet warmongers to ignite a war."

   Ri claimed the conservative ruling forces of South Korea are the "wicked sycophants and traitors and the enemies of national reunification, as they are hell-bent on perpetuating the national division and provoking a new war, totally denying the June 15 North-South Joint Declaration and the October 4 declaration."

   Ri said "the revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK are fully ready to frustrate any provocation of the aggressors with a single blow."

   "They will mobilize all means including the nuclear deterrent and completely blow up the stronghold for aggression and accomplish the historic cause of national reunification without fail, should the U.S. imperialists and the South Korean puppet warmongers dare intrude into the country."

   On April 23, Kim Jong-il promoted Yun Jong-rin to General and Kim Song-dok to Colonel General as part of the army's founding anniversary. The officers are commander and vice commander, respectively, of the security command of the Ministry of the People's Armed Forces.

  (END)