N. Korea's Kim inspects rocket unit before talks: report

Kim Jong-Un has reportedly inspected North Korea's rocket command unit in a bid to pressure the US before talks between Pyongyang and Washington on food aid in return for a nuclear moratorium.

Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said late Friday that Kim, who took over as North Korean leader following the death of his father Kim Jong-Il in December, inspected the Strategic Rocket Force Command.

KCNA did not give details on the unit's location or the date of the visit. But South Korea's Yonhap news agency said the command was believed to be located in Gangdong County in the northeast of Pyongyang.

Kim told the unit's service personnel to make "thorough-going preparations for battles" and "reduce the citadel of the enemy to a sea in flames by merciless firing strikes if it goes into action," KCNA said.

On Wednesday, Washington and Pyongyang made the surprise announcement that North Korea would freeze its nuclear and missile tests and uranium enrichment, as well as allowing back UN inspectors.

In exchange, the United States said it would provide 240,000 metric tons of nutritional assistance to the communist state

Baek Seung-Joo of the Korea Institute for Defence Analyses said the inspection appeared timed to heap pressure on the United States as US and North Korean officials prepared to meet in Beijing Wednesday to finalise plans for food aid.

"The message is like this: unless the talks go smoothly, we would test-fire missiles whenever we want," Baek told AFP.

North Korea has up to 300 SCUD missiles with a range of up to 500 km (312.5 miles), some 200 Rodong with a 1,300 km range and an unknown number of Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missiles with a 3,000-km range, according to Yonhap.


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