North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised a live-fire artillery drill simulating an attack on a South Korean airfield and called on his troops to be ready to respond to the enemy’s “frantic battle preparation moves”. Apparently referring to America’s largest military exercise with the South in years.
The report by North Korean state media came a day after South Korea’s military detected at least one short-range ballistic missile fired toward the sea from a site near the western coastal city of Nampo on Friday. The South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff was assessing whether more missiles could be simultaneously launched from the area.
South Korea and the United States are preparing this month for their biggest joint military training exercise in years to counter the growing threat of Kim’s nuclear arsenal, which they have conducted despite the North’s deep economic isolation and pandemic difficulties. expanded aggressively.
North Korea fired short-range ballistic missile, South Korea said
Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency said Kim urged his troops to be prepared to “react forcefully and deter” military actions by the North’s enemies, which he said are “all kinds of more are proceeding with frantic battle preparation moves”.
He said frontline units must sharpen their capabilities to fulfill their two main “strategic missions, the first to prevent war and the second to initiate war.”
The report did not specify what kind of weapons were involved in Thursday’s drills or how many rockets were fired. Some of the North’s new short-range weapons targeting South Korea include oversized multiple rocket launchers, which experts say blur the boundaries between artillery and ballistic missile systems.
North Korea describes some of its more advanced short-range systems as tactical weapons, implying the intention to equip them with low-yield battlefield nuclear weapons.
With the words, experts say, the North is communicating the threat of actively using those weapons during conventional warfare to blunt the strong conventional forces of South Korea and the United States, which could deter a possible invasion from North Korea. Keeps about 28,000 troops in South Korea to help prevent.
Kim’s comments were in line with a growing nuclear doctrine legislated by North Korea last year that authorizes preemptive nuclear strikes in situations where it could see its leadership as threatened, including in conventional conflicts.
At least six rockets were fired from launch vehicles at an unspecified coastal forest area in pictures published by North Korea’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper.
Kim witnessed the firing from an observation post along with military officers and his daughter, believed to be named Kim Joo Ae and about 10 years old.
She has appeared at a number of events involving her military since first appearing at an ICBM test launch in November, and analysts believe the events and the heightened detail in state media have been used to show the world taken that they have no intention of voluntarily surrendering nuclear weapons. The weapon, which he apparently sees as the strongest guarantee of his survival and the extension of his family’s dynastic rule.
After a record year in missile testing, North Korea plans more weapons displays in 2023. Experts say North Korea with its increased test activity and threats is trying to claim a dual capability to launch nuclear strikes against South Korea and the US mainland.
Analysts say Kim’s campaign aims to force the United States to accept the North as a nuclear power and negotiate badly needed economic concessions from a position of strength. Diplomacy between the US and North Korea has come to a standstill since 2019.
The United States recently sent advanced warplanes including B-1B and B-52 long-range bombers to train with South Korean planes in a show of strength, triggering protests from North Korea, which allies Describes the joint practice of. Attack rehearsal.
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South Korean and US armies will hold computer-simulated command post training from March 13-23 and resume their largest-ever springtime field exercises, which were last held in 2018. He renewed them after the COVID-19 pandemic but diplomacy collapsed and North Korea increased threats and weapons testing.
On Tuesday, Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of the North Korean leader and one of Pyongyang’s top foreign policy officials, warned that her country was prepared to take “swift, heavy action” if necessary in the face of the allies’ expanded exercises .
In previous statements, it has threatened to turn the Pacific into North Korea’s firing range and has repeatedly hinted that the North may test ICBMs on a ballistic trajectory toward those waters in what has been described as one of the most provocative weapons demonstrations yet. be seen as one of the
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All of North Korea’s ICBM tests since 2017 have been conducted at a high angle to avoid neighbors’ fields.
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