North Korea released images of its leader Kim Jong Un inspecting two military units near the border with the south on Thursday. NBCNews.com's Dara Brown reports.
They could have been teenage girls at a Justin Bieber concert. But this adoring crowd was made up of North Korean troops and the star of the show was Kim Jong Un.
The world's only hereditary communist dictator was shown on state television Friday being mobbed by chanting soldiers. At some points, they were seen jumping on the spot while keeping their hands in the air.
Kim was filmed at a lookout post, surveying the scene with binoculars, and also on a naval vessel.
One group of soldiers was so overcome with apparent emotion that they charged into the sea to continue praising him. Kim waved them away from his boat.
The portrayal of Kim as a much-loved military leader came after North Korea threatened Thursday that it could launch a "pre-emptive nuclear attack" on its enemies. That warning came a few hours before the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to impose new sanctions on the isolated state over its recent nuclear bomb test.
The troops' apparent joy was in marked contrast to the daily lives of millions in North Korea.
After cancelling all non-aggression agreements with South Korea, North Korean officials continue to maintain that the country could carry out a preemptive nuclear strike against the U.S.
According to the CIA’s World Factbook, North Koreans risk arrest and imprisonment when crossing the border into China "to escape famine, economic privation, and political oppression."
Human Rights Watch accuses North Korea’s government of continuing "to systematically violate the rights of its citizens, including by depriving large sectors of its population of food, applying collective punishments and forced labor and interning more than 200,000 people in sub-human conditions in political prison camps where they are denied their basic humanity."