North Korean soldiers boasted on state television they bombarded a front-line South Korean island with artillery last month as immediate retaliation after the South fired first.
The two Koreas have ramped up their rhetoric since the Nov. 23 attack killed four South Koreans on Yeonpyeong Island near their tense western sea border. North Korea has said it fired after South Korean shells landed in its waters, while the South has said its routine firing drill aimed away from the sea frontier and should not have provoked an attack.
North Korea’s war of words intensified around Friday’s 19th anniversary of leader Kim Jong Il’s appointment as the North’s supreme military commander. Kim’s military chief threatened last week to launch a “sacred” nuclear war against the South.
On Friday, North Korean soldiers appeared on a state TV program marking Kim’s appointment anniversary and bragged of participating in the artillery barrage.
“Our eyes were full of fire right after we saw the enemy’s shells being fired into our sacred waters,” soldier Kim Moon Chol said, clinching his fists and standing shoulder-to-shoulder with three uniformed colleagues. Their ranks were unknown.
“At the order of ‘fire,’ we poured our merciless thunderbolt of fire at the enemy,” he said in a loud, oratory-style speech.
A soldier whose uniform was full of military decorations expressed his loyalty to Kim Jong Il.