Kim supervises US-South Korea nuclear counterattack simulation

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Kim supervises US-South Korea nuclear counterattack simulation

Kim Jong Un supervised drills simulating a nuclear retaliation against the United States and South Korea as a warning to the allies who are intensifying their joint military exercises, official agency KCNA said on March 20.

The North’s drills comprised a short-range missile launch, but – unusually – the missile was launched from a subterranean silo, which analysts think may increase the speed and stability of future intercontinental ballistic missile testing (ICBM).

KCNA stated that the exercises on Saturday and Sunday were meant to bolster the country’s “war deterrent and nuclear counterattack capacity” and accused Washington and Seoul of “explicitly attempting to launch a war” against North Korea.

KCNA said that the purpose of the exercise was to display a harder resolve to respond to a genuine conflict and to send a stronger signal to enemies who increase their aggressive war preparations.

KCNA said that a ballistic missile loaded with a dummy nuclear warhead traveled 800 kilometers (497 miles) before striking a target in a nuclear assault scenario.

KCNA photographs revealed that Kim attended the test with his young daughter, as the flying missile erupted in flames before impacting the target.

Photos revealed the launch used a KN-23 short-range ballistic missile (SRBM), but unlike previous tests, the engine exhaust looked to be discharged from both sides at the moment of launch, which might indicate a silo was utilized.

“Before recently, North Korea favored mobile launchers for everything from SRBMs to massive ICBMs, but its poor road and system conditions made it impossible to ensure the missile’s reliability during actual operations,” said Yang Uk, a fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Research in Seoul. The most recent launch might serve as a test for future silo-based launches of heavier missiles, such as the Hwasong-17 ICBM.

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The spokesperson for South Korea’s defense ministry stated without elaboration that the North is making major technological gains in its nuclear program.

Kim stated that the exercises enhanced the military’s combat capacity and urged the armed forces to be prepared for a “immediate and overwhelming nuclear retaliation at any time.”

“The current circumstances, in which the adversaries’ aggressive acts against the DPRK are becoming more evident, demands the DPRK to exponentially increase its nuclear war deterrent,” KCNA cited him as saying.

Kim was using the abbreviation for the official name of his nation, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“With its high combat preparedness, the DPRK’s nuclear force will forcefully deter, control, and manage the enemy’s reckless acts and provocations, and will carry out its vital job without hesitation in the event of any unwelcome circumstance,” he said.

On Sunday, South Korea and Japan reported a launch of a short-range ballistic missile by North Korea off the east coast, the latest in a series of missile tests conducted in recent weeks.

North Korea has responded angrily to joint military drills between South Korea and the United States, labeling them an invasion rehearsal.

This month, the partners have conducted exercises, including air and sea operations on Sunday with American B-1B bombers.

On Monday, the US and South Korean fleets and marine corps will commence their first large-scale Ssangyong amphibious landing drills in five years, which will last for two weeks until April 3.

Last month, the two nations conducted tabletop exercises simulating a nuclear attack by North Korea in response to South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol’s call for greater confidence in US extended deterrence – the United States’ military capability, especially its nuclear forces, to deter attacks on its allies.

In a separate dispatch, KCNA stated that more than 1.4 million North Koreans have enlisted or re-enlisted in the military to fight against Seoul and Washington, an increase from the 800,000 reported by a state-run publication just two days before.

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