As the largest joint military drills between the militaries of South Korea and the United States began on Monday, North Korea announced that it had tested submarine-launched cruise missiles in apparent opposition to the exercises, which it considers an invasion practice.
The North Korean rockets on Sunday indicated the regime would most likely conduct provocative weapons testing during the 11-day-long drills between the United States and South Korea.
Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, commanded his forces last week to be prepared to fend off competitors’ “frantic war preparatory activities.”
The United States is being pushed to strengthen its Asian relationships due to China’s aspirations and North Korea’s growing nuclear threats. North Korea has been significantly increasing the size of its nuclear arsenal over the past year, despite repeated attempts by the United States and its allies to impose stricter sanctions on the country due to the North’s constant conduct of prohibited missile launches.
South Korea and the U.S. Various mixed-field training exercises and a computer simulation are included in the drills.
According to South Korean officials, the field exercises would revert to the size of the past year’s primary field training for the allies.
According to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency, firing two cruise missiles from a submarine off its east coast demonstrated a desire to retaliate against “the U.S. imperialists and the South Korean puppet forces,” escalating military exercises with “overwhelmingly powerful” force.
This suggests North Korea intends to equip the cruise missiles with nuclear warheads, though it’s still unknown if it has overcome the final remaining technological barriers to acquiring operational nuclear-tipped missiles.
KCNA called the missiles “strategic” weapons and said their firings verified the posture of the country’s “nuclear war deterrence.”
According to the report, the missiles flew for more than two hours, creating figure-eight patterns and proving they could attack targets 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) away.
According to KCNA, the missiles were launched from the 8.24 Yongung ship, a submarine utilized by North Korea to carry out its first submarine-launched ballistic missile test in 2016.
According to the reported launch information, if cruise missiles are launched from the North’s eastern waters, Japan, including U.S. military installations in Okinawa, would be within striking distance of the weapons, according to Kim Dong-yub, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.
He claimed that the guns could potentially reach the United States. If a North Korean submarine can operate farther from its shore, it could reach the Pacific island of Guam.
The North launched its first underwater missiles on Sunday after testing a weapon from a silo beneath an inland reservoir in October. The nation tested a short-range ballistic missile in May from the submarine 8.24 Yongung.
By controlling submarine-launched missile systems, North Korea may undertake retaliation attacks, making it more difficult for enemies to predict launches. According to experts, the heavily sanctioned country would need years, a lot of money, and significant technological advancements to create a fleet of multiple submarines that could cruise the oceans discreetly and reliably carry out strikes.
Also, the tests marked the North’s first known submarine launches of cruise missiles. In its earlier underwater launches, ballistic missiles were always used. Observers claim this is also the first time North Korea has launched numerous missiles from a submarine.
“North Korea wants to show it’s still almost developed the types of missiles that can be fired from a submarine at a time when its efforts to build (bigger submarines) have reported little progress due to the sanctions,” said Moon Keun-sik, a submarine expert who teaches at Kyonggi University in South Korea.