North Korea says it simulates nuclear attacks

Seoul, South Korea –

North Korea said on Friday that its cruise missile launches this week were part of a nuclear attack simulation that also involved an explosion by a purposeful underwater drone when it leader Kim Jong Un vowed to make his opponents “sink into despair”.

North Korea has stepped up weapons demonstrations in response to military exercises between the United States and its ally South Korea aimed at countering North Korea’s growing nuclear threat. The allies completed an 11-day exercise that included their biggest field training in years on Thursday, but North Korea is expected to resume weapons tests as The US is reportedly planning to send an aircraft carrier in the coming days for another joint exercise with the South.

Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency said Kim oversaw a three-day drill simulating nuclear counterattacks against the enemy’s naval assets and ports involved detonation of dummy nuclear warheads. KCNA said the drills were intended to warn the US and South Korea of ​​a smoldering “nuclear crisis” as they continued the “purposeful, persistent and provocative war drills” that the North had carried out. described as an invasion maneuver.

KCNA said the drill verified the operational reliability of an underwater nuclear attack drone that North Korea has been developing since 2012. KCNA said the drone was deployed. off the east coast of North Korea on Tuesday, sailed underwater for nearly 60 hours and detonated a test warhead at a target. stand for an enemy port.

North Korea is believed to have dozens of nuclear warheads and can fit them into older weapons systems, such as Scud or Rodong missiles. However, there are differing assessments of how far the country has come in making such warheads suitable for the new types of weapons it has developed at a rapid pace, possibly. need to upgrade more technology and nuclear testing.

Speaking to lawmakers on Thursday, South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-Sup said North Korea probably still hasn’t mastered its most advanced weapons technology, despite acknowledging that the This is making “significant progress”.

Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, said: “Pyongyang’s latest claim of possessing an underwater drone capable of carrying nuclear warheads should be met with controversy. incredulous”. “But it clearly aims to demonstrate that the Kim regime has so many different means of nuclear attack that any pre-emptive or decapitation attack against it would fail miserably.”

On Wednesday, North Korea also test-fired cruise missiles in launches that were detected and made public by the South Korean military. The country also staged another nuclear strike simulation with a short-range ballistic missile on Sunday and tested an intercontinental ballistic missile last week that could reach the continental United States.

KCNA said Wednesday’s tests were four cruise missiles and two different types. The missiles flew for more than two hours in a sea pattern while demonstrating the ability to hit targets 1,500 km and 1,800 km away. It said the missile’s dummy nuclear warheads were detonated 600 meters (1,968 feet) from the target, which is believed to have verified the reliability of the nuclear explosion control devices and the detonator. their bullets.

KCNA said Kim was satisfied with the three-day drills and directed unspecified additional missions to counter the “reckless military provocations” of the adversaries, indicating that the North will continue to increase military display.

Kim “expressed his will to plunge the US imperialists and (South) Korean puppet regime into despair” with eloquent demonstrations of his military nuclear program to make opponents understand that “they are will certainly lose more” with the expansion of their joint exercises.

Kim made the same statement on Sunday after testing a short-range ballistic missile from what could be a bunker dug in the ground. North Korean media said a mock nuclear warhead mounted on a missile exploded at 800 meters (2,624 feet) above the water, an altitude some experts say is intended to maximize damage.

It is the first time that North Korea has publicly announced such a height to detonate a nuclear weapon, although it has previously claimed to have carried out simulated nuclear attacks against its rivals.

North Korea’s report on the drills came as South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol was preparing to attend a memorial service for 55 South Korean soldiers who died in major clashes with North Korea near the southern sea border. their west over the years. They include the 46 sailors who were killed in the sinking of the warship Cheonan in 2010, which Seoul blamed for a North Korean torpedo attack, although North Korea denies involvement.

North Korea has launched more than 20 ballistic and cruise missiles in 10 different launch events this year as it tries to diversify its launch systems and demonstrate a dual ability to launch nuclear strikes on both Korea and mainland America. North Korea has experienced a record year of test activity, with more than 70 missiles launched by 2022, as Kim ramps up his campaign to force the United States to accept the idea of ​​North Korea as a nuclear power and Negotiations on the lifting of sanctions are much needed. from a position of strength.

South Korea and the United States responded by expanding joint military exercises that had shrunk in previous years. Seoul’s Defense Ministry said this week that South Korea and the United States are planning to conduct a live-fire exercise of an “unprecedented” scale in June.

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