NORTH Korean leader Kim Jong-un is ready to send up to 500,000 women soldiers to the front line if war with the US breaks out, according to defectors’ estimates, The Sun UK reports.
Battalions of female soldiers took part in the nation’s biggest-ever live firing exercise to mark the 85th anniversary of its military’s creation this week.
Unconfirmed reports suggest there could be up to half a million women in the Korean People’s Army and Kim has told the forces they should be ready for war.
In highly staged scenes, the despot was mobbed by emotional female fighters when he watched firing displays from multiple rocket launcher systems late last year.
It comes as it’s claimed his nuclear tests could trigger a deadly volcanic eruption, and he labelled the US a “blackmailing gangster” that was holding the hermit state at “knifepoint”.
State news reported Kim had recently organised a female gunner competition.
“He organised this contest all of a sudden and guided it on the spot in order to estimate and confirm the combat capability of women gunners,” reported the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
In the contest, Kim stressed the significance of training women soldiers for the “great war for national unification” and of preparing all gunners to be able to fight anywhere and any time, said the KCNA.
“To this end, the training of artillery units should be conducted under the simulated conditions of an actual battle,” the KCNA quoted Kim as saying.
“The training irrelevant to an actual war is not necessary no matter how frequently it is conducted, and soldiers would have to pay dearly in combat for such training,” Kim added.
Exact percentages of the number of women in army uniform in North Korea are unknown, though some unverified details have emerged.
It could be as low as ten per cent, but reports from defectors suggest the number could be as high as 40 per cent. This would equate to around 500,000 soldiers given the hermit state has a total of 1.2 million troops.
It is believed one of the main reasons is that thousands of male soldiers starved to death or deserted their posts during the great famine which devastated the impoverished nation in the Nineties.
North Korea puts on a massive live-fire artillery drill as a U.S. submarine docks in the South
As a result, the ruling party has turned to female soldiers to fill the gaps.
North and South Korea have technically been at war since their last conflict ended in 1953 without a peace treaty.