March 25, 2013 / 6:13 AM / 6 years ago

North Korean leader Kim sings military's praises, oungum-style

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un holds up his ballot during the fifth session of the 12th Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang April 13, 2012, in this picture released by the North's KCNA on April 14, 2012. REUTERS/KCNA

SEOUL (Reuters) - Forget “Hail to the Chief”. In North Korea, the army sing their leader’s praises with a chorus of “We Will Defend General Kim Jong-un at the Cost of Our Lives”, or the catchy accordion and tap-dance tune, “The Naval Port in the Evening”.

Kim, the third of his line to rule North Korea, praised musical instruments made by the North’s 1.2 million-strong army on Sunday, state news agency KCNA reported.

Tensions have risen on the Korean peninsula since new U.N. sanctions were imposed after the North carried out its third nuclear test in February. Pyongyang has threatened to destroy the United States with nuclear weapons, bomb its Pacific bases and shell South Korea in response.

Putting aside rising rhetoric, Kim inspected guitars and drums made by the army and said it was important to make quality instruments so soldiers could “spend their worthwhile days in the army full of militant optimism and joy”, KCNA said.

Kim, “Supreme Commander” of the North’s armed forces, also inspected overcoats for pupils at the country’s top military schools and suggested style improvements, KCNA reported.

According to independent observers, North Korea’s huge military, believed to be the world’s fourth largest, spend most of their time in activities such as manufacturing or fishing for crabs because drills are far too expensive for the impoverished country and they need to feed themselves.

Kim’s field guidance follows the example set by his late father, Kim Jong-il, who gave advice to factories and farmers as well as the army.

Kim Jong-un, 30, still has some way to go in emulating his father’s reported accomplishments.

His father’s feats, according to KCNA, included inventing the oungum, a banjo-like musical instrument that is “widely popular” in North Korea, and scoring 11 holes-in-one in a single round of golf.

Reporting by Somang Yang; Editing by Paul Tait

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