US spying from air: DPRK
* Kim visits army
* US orders probe on N Korea’s nuke ability: NYT
SEOUL: North Korea accused the United States on Thursday of mounting dozens of spy flights last month and the communist state’s leader made a May Day visit to an army base to praise troops as “one-match-for-a-hundred” fighters.
Pyongyang regularly reports the number of US spy flights it says were carried out in the previous month, but Thursday’s tally on the official KCNA news agency was particularly detailed and came at a time of heightened tension with the US.
On Thursday, the New York Times reported the White House had ordered US intelligence agencies to review whether N Korea was capable of producing bomb-grade plutonium without detection.
KCNA quoted an unidentified military source as saying various types of US reconnaissance aircraft had flown at least 220 missions to spy on military targets, coastlines and front-line positions along the Demilitarised Zone border with the South. The bulk of the 1.1-million-strong N Korean armed forces are deployed near the DMZ, the world’s last Cold War frontier.
The North gave a similar figure for the number of US spy flights in March, the month in which North Korean fighters buzzed a US RC-135 reconnaissance plane in international airspace.
KCNA said leader Kim Jong-Il marked May Day by visiting an army unit — the latest in a series of trips to military bases since he emerged from an unexplained 50-day absence from public view during the height of the US-led war in Iraq.. “He spared time to see an art performance given by the servicepersons of the company on the joyous holiday,” KCNA said.
“Listening to the songs sung by them with loyalty, he was greatly satisfied to see all the servicepersons trained as one-match-for-a-hundred fighters fully prepared politically and ideologically and in military technique,” it said.
The news agency said N Korean newspapers focused on Kim’s ‘songun’ policy of giving top priority to the military. —Reuters