SEOUL — Members of North Korea's powerful military have held a rally to pledge loyalty to the country's new leader Kim Jong-Un, vowing to become "rifles and bombs" to protect him, official media said on Tuesday.
Service members promised to "become rifles and bombs to serve as Kim Jong-Un first-line lifeguards and Kim Jong-Un first-line death-defying corps", the official KCNA news agency said.
The regime has moved quickly to proclaim the untested Jung-Un, aged in his late 20s, as its new chief after the sudden death of his father and supreme leader Kim Jong-Il on December 17.
It has officially appointed the son, who holds a general's rank but has no known active military experience, supreme commander of the 1.2 million-strong military.
On Sunday state media showed Jong-Un driving a tank and giving orders to artillery, navy and air force units, in another apparent attempt to bolster his credentials with the world's fourth largest armed forces.
KCNA said armed forces chief Ri Yong-Ho read the loyalty pledge to Jong-Un at Monday's rally in Pyongyang of the three branches of the military, which ended with a march past.
The message pledged to "wipe out the enemies to the last one if they intrude into the inviolable sky, land and seas of the country even 0.001 mm", the agency said.
The rally paid tribute to the "unswerving Songun will" of the new leader, a reference to an army-first policy which prioritises their welfare over civilians in a country hit by severe food shortages.