Home » In a clear threat to his enemies, Kim Jong-un led a nuclear counterattack drill

In a clear threat to his enemies, Kim Jong-un led a nuclear counterattack drill

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In a clear threat to his enemies, Kim Jong-un led a nuclear counterattack drill

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw salvo launches from the country’s multiple “super-large” rocket launchers that simulated a nuclear counterattack against enemy targets, state media said on Tuesday, adding to his belligerent testing activities and threats that have raised tensions in the region.

The report by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency came a day after the militaries of South Korea and Japan detected the North firing what they suspected were multiple short-range ballistic missiles from a nearby region to its capital, Pyongyang, towards its eastern seas.

Analysts say North Korea’s large artillery rockets blur the line between artillery systems and ballistic missiles because they can create their own thrust and are guided during their launch. North Korea has described some of these systems, including the 600mm multiple rocket launchers that were tested on Monday, as capable of carrying tactical nuclear warheads.

KCNA said Monday’s launches represented the first demonstration of the country’s nuclear weapons control and management system called “Haekbangashoe” or “nuclear trigger.” The report described the exercise as intended to demonstrate the strength and various means of attack of North Korea’s nuclear forces amid deepening tensions with the United States and South Korea, which it described as “warmongers” who increase tensions in the region with their combined military exercises.

State media photographs showed at least four rockets fired from launch vehicles as Kim watched from an observation post. He said the rockets flew 352 kilometers before accurately hitting a target on an island and that the drill verified the reliability of the “command, management, control, and operation system of the entire nuclear force.”

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KCNA said Kim was satisfied with the exercise, which he said showed how his nuclear-armed military was expanding the “tactical nuclear strike operation space and diversifying it.”

He said the exercise was crucial to “prepare our nuclear force to be able to quickly and correctly carry out its important mission of deterring war and taking the initiative in war at any time and in any sudden situation.” The comments reflected North Korea’s escalatory nuclear doctrine, which authorizes the military to launch preemptive nuclear strikes against enemies if it perceives leadership to be threatened.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the weapons from Monday’s launches flew about 300 kilometers before crashing in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. The ranges suggested the weapons would likely be aimed at sites in South Korea.

In recent months, North Korea has maintained an accelerated pace of weapons testing as it continues to expand its military capabilities while diplomacy with the United States and South Korea remains stalled. Officials and outside analysts say Kim’s goal is to eventually pressure the United States to accept the idea of ​​North Korea being a nuclear power and negotiate economic and security concessions from a position of strength.

In response to evolving nuclear threats from North Korea, the United States and South Korea have been strengthening their bilateral and trilateral military exercises with Japan. Countries are also sharpening their nuclear deterrence strategies based on American strategic assets.

In recent years, North Korea has tested nuclear-capable missiles designed to strike sites in South Korea, Japan, and the continental United States. Many experts say North Korea already possesses nuclear missiles that can reach all of South Korea and Japan, but they are still developing functional intercontinental ballistic missiles that can travel to the US mainland.

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The latest launches came days after North Korea announced Saturday that it tested a “super-large” cruise missile warhead and a new anti-aircraft missile in a western coastal area early last week. In early April, North Korea also test-launched what it called an intermediate-range solid-fuel missile with hypersonic warhead capability, a weapon that experts say is intended to strike remote targets in the US territory of Guam in the Pacific and beyond.

There is also speculation that North Korea could soon carry out its second launch of a military spy satellite, after putting the first into orbit in November. Kim, who has described space reconnaissance as crucial to monitoring US and South Korean military activities and increasing the threat from their nuclear-capable missiles, has said North Korea will launch three additional military spy satellites in 2024.

(With information from AP)

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