To protest the most extensive joint military drills in years between the U.S. and South Korea, North Korea stated Monday that it had mocked up a nuclear attack on South Korea with a ballistic missile launch over the weekend.
This was the country’s fifth missile demonstration this month.
To improve the battle readiness of his nuclear weapons in the event of an “attack” by his adversaries, Kim Jong Un, the leader of the North, ordered his military to conduct more drills, according to official media.
Less than an hour before the United States flew long-range B-1B bombers for training with South Korean warplanes, the militaries of South Korea and Japan detected the short-range missile being launched Sunday into waters off the eastern coast of the North. Although the allies believe the drills are defensive, the North characterizes them as a practice for an invasion.
According to some observers, the North utilizes the exercises as an excuse to push its weapons development initiatives.
According to Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency, the rocket carried a fake nuclear payload and traveled around 800 kilometers (500 miles).
The bomb detonated as anticipated 800 meters (yards) above water at a location that simulated an unnamed “important enemy target,” according to the report, which hailed the test as successful.
According to the source, the launch culminated in a two-day exercise that included nuclear command and control training and military units being trained to shift more swiftly into a nuclear counterattack posture, correctly operate atomic weapons systems, and carry out strike plans.
The United States and South Korea, who are “undisguised in their open attempt to unleash a war” against the North, were also sent a “stronger warning” by the exercise, according to KCNA.
State-run media released images of Kim strolling through a forest with his daughter and top military officials while a missile that the North claimed was a tactical nuclear weapon system soared out of the trees, spitting smoke and flames.
Claiming that his opponents are getting “ever more evident in their moves for aggression,” Kim laid out unspecified “strategic tasks” for further expanding his nuclear capabilities and increasing their war readiness, KCNA reported. This suggested the North would step up its armament displays in the following weeks or months.
The North’s third short-range missile launch since the U.S. and South Korean forces started working together on March 13 and its fifth this month. The allied exercises, scheduled to last through Thursday, feature their largest springtime field exercise since 2018.
This year, short-range missiles fired from vehicles on land, cruise missiles launched from a submarine, and two intercontinental ballistic missiles are among the North’s military tests.
Following Thursday’s most recent ICBM test, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met and decided to mend their frequently strained relations in the face of North Korean threats by resuming security conversations and taking other actions.
With more than 70 missiles fired in 2022, North Korea is already coming off a record year for testing, as Kim accelerates his weapons development to force the United States to recognize the North as a nuclear power and negotiate much-needed sanctions relief from a position of strength.
The U.N. has reacted to the most recent ICBM launch. The United States, United Kingdom, and others requested that the Security Council hold an urgent open meeting on Monday morning.
Friday’s informal U.N. Security Council meeting saw the U.S., its allies, and human rights experts draw attention to what they described as North Korea’s grave human rights situation. China and Russia criticized the summit as being politicized.
According to North Korea’s U.N. Mission, the discussion over “our non-existent ‘human rights issue'” was illegal. The debate on Friday was placed “despite staging the provocative joint military exercise which presents a severe threat to our national security,” it was further said.