SEOUL (AFP/Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un oversaw a live-fire artillery drill aimed at simulating an “actual war”, state media said Tuesday, a day after South Korea swore in its first female president.

“An endless barrage of shells were fired by artillery pieces on ‘enemy positions’, their roar rocking heaven and earth, and all of them were enveloped in flames,” the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

“Feasting his eyes at the ‘enemy positions’ in flames, (Kim) was satisfied,” the official agency added. KCNA gave no precise time or location for the drill, but its announcement followed Monday’s presidential inauguration in the South, at which new leader Park Geun-Hye signalled a zero-tolerance policy to provocation by North Korea.

According to KCNA, Kim ordered the live fire exercise to test the capability of artillery units “to fight an actual war”.

It marked the latest in a series of high-profile military inspections by Kim following the North’s nuclear test earlier this month.

Last week Kim oversaw an air force demonstration, a paratrooper drill and a separate tactical attack exercise combined with live shell firing.

Kim’s visits appeared to be aimed at stepping up threat levels, South Korean defence ministry spokesman Kim Min-Seok said, adding that the South was watching the situation “carefully and attentively”.

“The visits to military units account for about one fifth of his public appearances made so far this year, which we believe is a bit more than past years,” Kim told reporters.

In her inauguration speech on Monday, Park demanded that Pyongyang “abandon its nuclear ambitions” immediately and warned that the North’s test was a challenge to the future survival of the Korean people.

While vowing to pursue the trust-building policy with Pyongyang that she had promised in her campaign, Park stressed she would never compromise South Korea’s national security.

Cross-border tension has been high since the North’s February 12 test, which sparked global fury and condemnation from the UN Security Council.

Meanwhile, Japan and the United States called on Tuesday for the main UN human rights forum to launch an inquiry into allegations of violations including the torture and execution of political prisoners in North Korea.

The reclusive country’s network of political prison camps are believed to contain at least 200,000 people and have been the scene of rapes, torture, executions and slave labour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said last month.

She called for a international investigation into what “may amount to crimes against humanity” in “one of the worst - but least understood and reported - human rights situations in the world”. North Korea dismissed the allegations.

Concerns about human rights abuses in the impoverished and malnourished country have persisted for years, but have been largely overshadowed in international forums by fears over North Korea’s attempts to become a nuclear weapons power.

Japan and the European Union will submit a joint resolution seeking a inquiry, Japan’s Toshiko Abe said in a speech to the Human Rights Council, which began a four-week session on Monday.

“Broad support of this resolution by the international community would send a stronger message to the DPRK,” the parliamentary vice-minister for foreign affairs said, using the acronym for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Pyongyang has also failed to resolve the fate of many Japanese nationals abducted by North Korean agents, Abe said.

In theory, a team of international investigators could give sufficient legal grounds for the UN Security Council to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court.

China would be likely to veto such a referral, but building on accounts from defectors and refugees could create a dossier that is harder to dismiss than individual allegations.