Kim Jong-un in Surprise Visit to Border Village

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un paid a visit to the border truce village of Panmunjom on Saturday. Kim looked across the border at South Korea through a pair of binoculars and told troops to "maintain the maximum alertness since [they] stand in confrontation with the enemy at all times," according to the official KCNA news agency on Sunday.

Kim also looked at a stone monument with his father Kim Jong-il's signature as well as a meeting room and other sites there. He then told soldiers to make sure another battle would result in "surrender by the enemies of the communist people rather than a truce."

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un looks across the border at South Korea at the border truce village of Panmunjom on Saturday. /[North] Korean Central News Agency 

The visit comes amid tensions over annual South Korea-U.S. joint exercises and alleged disrespect for North Korean founder Kim Il-sung and late leader Kim Jong-il by a South Korean military unit. A government official said, "Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il rarely visited Panmunjom when inter-Korean tensions mounted. The purpose of the latest visit by Jong-un appears to be a warning to South Korea and the U.S."

Kim was accompanied by two heavyweights, Gen. Kim Yong-chol, the head of General Reconnaissance Bureau and deputy premier Kang Sok-ju (67). Kim Yong-chol masterminded the torpedo attack against the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan and due to the secretive nature of his job rarely appears in public. Kang has spearheaded the North’s diplomatic efforts toward Washington and Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.

An intelligence official said the fact that he was accompanied by two people responsible for the regime's South Korean and U.S. policies shows Kim Jong-un's determination not to let his guard down.

A day earlier, Kim toured a strategic base that commands missile launch facilities and told troops in the customary phrase to turn South Korea into a "sea of fire" through merciless attacks. The comments came just two days after North Korea announced it would temporarily halt uranium enrichment following a series of meetings with U.S. officials in Beijing.

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