North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered his troops to bury enemies at sea if provoked, Pyongyang's state media reported, amid tensions over his country's planned rocket launch.
Kim also called on the troops to further strengthen the defense of an islet on the east coast as "an iron wall" to ensure no enemies can invade his country under any circumstances.
North Korea frequently claims that the United States has a hostile policy toward Pyongyang and regularly holds military exercises with South Korea as rehearsals for a northward invasion.
South Korea and the U.S. say the routine joint military maneuvers are aimed at bolstering their readiness against a possible North Korean provocation.
Kim ordered the unit on Ryo Islet "to send all the intruders into the bottom of the sea," during his inspection tour, the North's official Korean Central News Agency reported in an English-language dispatch late Wednesday.
North Korea has a track record of deadly provocations against South Korea.
In March 2010, 46 South Korean sailors were killed in the sinking of their warship near the two Koreas' disputed western sea border.
A team of multinational investigators concluded in 2010 that a North Korean torpedo was responsible for the sinking. However, the North still adamantly denies its involvement.
Kim has made frequent trips to military units in an apparent attempt to bolster his support from the military since he took over the country upon his father's death in December.
Kim's latest inspection comes amid international pressure on the North to call off its planned long-range rocket launch.
The North says the launch set for sometime between April 12 and 16 is designed to put an earth observation satellite into orbit.
However, South Korea, the U.S. and other regional powers suspect the launch could be a cover for testing the North's ballistic missile technology, which is banned under a U.N. resolution.
A satellite photo shows more vehicles, including trailers, on the launch pad and fuel and oxidizer containers at the fuel system next to it, according to IHS Jane's Defense Weekly image analyst Allison Puccioni.
She said the gantry crane above the launch tower is now situated directly over the mobile launch platform, the position necessary to erect the rocket, citing the March 31 image taken by GeoEye.
"The level of activity at the launch pad and tower indicates that the rocket should be in place within days," she said in a comment sent to Yonhap News Agency. (Yonhap)
북한의 김정은 노동당 중앙군사위원회 부위원장이 동해안 전방초소를 지키는 '려도(여도)방어대'를 시찰했다고 조선중앙통신이 4일 전했다.
여도방어대는 북한 제287대연합부대 소속으로 강원도 원산에 있는 섬인 여도를 방어하는 부대다.
김 부위원장은 부대를 둘러보고 "동해의 관문인 려도를 더욱 철벽으로 다져 원쑤들이 사회주의 조국땅에 침략의 발을 절대로 들여놓지 못하게 하며 적들이 감히 덤벼든다면 모조리 수장해 버리라"고 지시했다고 통신은 전했다.
김 부위원장은 해안포 좌지에서 화력복무훈련을 지도한 뒤 군부대 관하 4중대와 해안포대대 3중대에 쌍안경과 자동보총을 선물하고 방어대의 군인 및 가족과 기념촬영을 했다고 통신은 밝혔다.
또 김 부위원장은 25년 간 이곳 방어대장으로 사업하면서 여도를 철벽의 요새로 다진 공화국영웅 천재권의 수고를 치하하고 "여도를 지킬 수 있는 지휘관들을 많이 키워 바통을 든든히 넘겨준 다음 평양에 올라와 자신과 함께 일하자"고 말했다?
천재권은 여도 방어대장으로 최고인민회회의 제12기 대의원인 것으로 알려졌다.
김 부위원장의 이날 시찰에는 김원홍 총정치국 조직부국장, 현철해 대장, 리두성, 리종무 중장 등이 수행했다. (연합뉴스)