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(LEAD) N. Korean leader watches nighttime naval firing drill

2015/06/16 14:38

SEOUL, June 16 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un observed a nighttime firing drill by navy warships and ground artillery sub-units, the North's media said Tuesday, amid its offer for talks with South Korea.

The young leader was "pleased" to watch the artillery and warships mercilessly hit their targets, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

It said that Kim arrived at an observation post at around 3:00 a.m., but it did not specify the date.

Sources said that the drill was presumed to have taken place in the East Sea on Monday. Later, the North made the conditional offer for dialogue with the South.

The KCNA said that "various types of ground artillery pieces, including multiple rockets, opened fire at the 'enemy' warships intruding into the waters of (North Korea) all of a sudden under the cover of pitch darkness and dense fog."

  

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) watches a nighttime firing drill by navy warships and ground artillery sub-units in this photo carried by the North Korean communist party's official newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, on June 16, 2015. (Yonhap) North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) watches a nighttime firing drill by navy warships and ground artillery sub-units in this photo carried by the North Korean communist party's official newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, on June 16, 2015. (Yonhap)

The report came one day after North Korea said it is ready to hold talks with South Korea if certain preconditions are met, including the suspension of Seoul's joint military drills with the United States.

In a rare statement, North Korea on Monday said, "There is no reason not to hold dialogue and talks between the two Koreas if the atmosphere for trust and reconciliation is created."

   But the North also attached a list of conditions that the South should meet, including the suspension of Seoul-Washington military exercises and the abolishment of legal and institutional systems that hamper inter-Korean exchanges.

In response, Seoul called on Pyongyang to come to the talks "without laying out improper preconditions." It also urged the North to end provocative acts that are raising tension on the divided Korean Peninsula.

The KCNA said that Kim was accompanied by top military figures including Hwang Pyong-so, director of the general political department of the Korean People's Army and Pak Yong-sik, presumed to be the North's new defense chief.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr

(END)

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