N. Korean leader inspects simulated attack on S. Korean border islands

SEOUL-- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has inspected a simulated invasion of South Korean islands near the tense western border, state media reported Saturday, amid fresh tensions over North Korea's missile launches.

The exercise by the special operation forces came as South Korea and the U.S. military are conducting their annual computer simulated drills meant to enhance readiness against possible North Korean aggression.

In a simulated attack on the South Korean border islands of Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong, North Korean planes hit targets as its multiple-missile launchers and self-propelled gun howitzers fired in salvo and shells hit unidentified North Korean islands.

Some of the North Korean special forces also parachuted into the islands and others landed by surprise using rubber boats. The simulated South Korean targets were later enveloped in flames, according to North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency.

In 2010, North Korea shelled Yeonpyeong Island, killing two South Korean Marines and two civilians. South Korea has since strengthened its defense posture near the western sea border.

Kim "expressed great satisfaction" over the "target-strike" contest and told the special forces to focus on improving the quality of training and strengthen drills of arms, special arms and coordinated drills.

The military "should think of mercilessly wiping out the enemy with arms only and occupying Seoul at one go and the southern half of Korea," Kim said, according to KCNA.

Kim's comments underscore that the North remains unchanged in its policy of communizing the capitalist South.

On Saturday, North Korea launched at least three ballistic missiles into the East Sea, just days after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said North Korea has demonstrated some level of restraint.

Kim Yong-hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at Seoul's Dongguk University, said the North Korean leader's recent series of events is a telling sign that Pyongyang is at the moment "extremely nervous."

"Kim's visit to the special operation forces after a recent visit to Academy of Defense Science while South Korean and U.S. armed forces are conducting their annual joint drills signals that the North is observing the situation while being extremely nervous," the professor added.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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