North Korea says it simulated nuke attacks

Seoul, South Korea –

North Korea said on Friday that this week’s cruise missile launches were part of a simulated nuclear attack that also included an explosion by an alleged underwater drone as Kim Jong-un vowed to “plunge his rivals to despair.” .

North Korea has stepped up its weapons demonstrations in retaliation for military exercises between the United States and its ally South Korea aimed at countering North Korea’s growing nuclear threat. , has completed 11 days of exercises that include the largest field exercise in years, but North Korea is expected to continue testing its weapons.South.

The official KCNA news agency in Pyongyang said Kim Jong-un oversaw a three-day exercise simulating a nuclear counterattack against enemy naval assets and ports, including the detonation of a mock nuclear warhead. KCNA warns US and South Korea of ​​approaching ‘nuclear crisis’ as North Korea continues ‘deliberate, sustained and provocative war drills’ described as rehearsals for aggression said it intended to

KCNA said the exercise confirmed the operational reliability of an underwater core strike drone that North Korea has been developing since 2012. The drone was deployed off North Korea’s east coast on Tuesday, where he said it spent nearly 60 hours underwater before detonating a test warhead on its target. It represents an enemy port.

North Korea is believed to have dozens of nuclear warheads, which could fit into older weapons systems such as Scud and Rodong missiles. However, there are differing assessments of how much progress has been made in designing these warheads to suit the rapidly developing new weapons, which may require further technology upgrades and nuclear testing. there is.

South Korea’s Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup told lawmakers on Thursday that although North Korea has made “great progress”, it probably lacks the technology to equip itself with cutting-edge weapons. said he had not yet mastered

“North Korea’s recent claims of having nuclear-capable underwater drones should be viewed with skepticism,” said Leif Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul. “However, it is clear that the Kim regime has so many different nuclear weapons that it is intended to show that a preemptive strike or decapitation attack on the Kim regime would have disastrous consequences.”

On Wednesday, North Korea also test-launched a cruise missile in a launch detected and announced by South Korea’s military. Conducted flight tests of a potential intercontinental ballistic missile.

KCNA said Wednesday’s test involved four cruise missiles and two different types. The missile flew over the sea changing patterns for more than two hours of her, 1,500 km and he demonstrated the ability to hit targets 1,800 km away. The missile’s simulated nuclear warhead detonated 600 meters above the target, he said, confirming the reliability of the nuclear detonation control system and warhead detonator.

According to KCNA, Kim was satisfied with the three-day training and ordered an unspecified additional mission to counter a rival’s “reckless military provocations”.

Kim “expressed his willingness to drive the US imperialists and the (South Korean) puppet regime to despair” with a powerful demonstration of its military nuclear program. their joint training.

Kim made similar remarks on Sunday after test-launching a short-range ballistic missile, presumably from a silo dug into the ground. North Korean media said a simulated nuclear warhead mounted on a missile exploded 800 meters (2,624 feet) above water.

This is the first time North Korea has announced such an altitude to detonate a nuclear weapon.

A North Korean report on the drill said South Korean President Yoon Seok-yeol held a memorial ceremony to commemorate the 55 South Korean soldiers who died in large-scale clashes with North Korea near the western maritime border over the past few years. Among them were 46 sailors who died during the sinking of the warship Cheonan in 2010, although North Korea denied any involvement. , Seoul blamed a North Korean torpedo attack.

North Korea will launch more than 20 ballistic and cruise missiles in 10 different launch events this year, diversifying its delivery systems and demonstrating its dual capability to launch nuclear strikes on both South Korea and the U.S. mainland. and From a strong position, North Korea is already having a record year in testing activity, with more than 70 of her missiles launched in 2022.

South Korea and the United States have responded by expanding joint military exercises, which have been curtailed. South Korea and the United States are planning live-fire exercises of “unprecedented scale” in June, South Korea’s defense ministry said this week.

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