The military of North Korea said on Monday that its recent blitz of missile tests were drills for “mercilessly” hitting important South Korean and American targets such air bases and operational command systems with a variety of missiles, potentially including nuclear-capable weapons.
The North’s announcement highlighted its leader Kim Jong Un’s resolve to stand his ground in the face of his adversaries’ efforts to increase their military drills.
However, according to some experts, Kim also used their drills as an excuse to update his nuclear weapons and gain more clout in upcoming negotiations with Washington and Seoul.
Last week, in protest of extensive U.S.-South Korean air force drills that the North considers as an invasion practice, North Korea launched dozens of missiles and sent jets flying into the sea, causing evacuation alerts in some South Korean and Japanese communities.
Officials from the United States and South Korea replied that they will improve their joint training exercises and warned the North that the use of nuclear weapons would lead to the overthrow of Kim’s leadership.
The General Staff of North Korea’s military declared in a statement released by state media that “the recent comparable military operations by the Korean People’s Army are a clear answer of (North Korea) that the more thoroughly and savagely the KPA will counter them.”
It claimed that the weapons tests involved ground-to-air missiles that were intended to “annihilate” enemy aircraft at various altitudes and distances, ballistic missiles with dispersion warheads and underground infiltration warheads, and strategic cruise missiles that were launched in international waters about 80 kilometers (50 miles) off the coast of Ulsan, South Korea.