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Friday, May 17, 2024

Kim Jong-un tests North Korea’s ‘nuclear trigger’

Pyongyang has held a large-scale “counterattack” drill

North Korea has carried out a simulated nuclear counterattack against enemy targets personally observed by leader Kim Jong-un, state media reported on Tuesday. As part of the exercise, several “super-large” multiple rocket launchers fired a missile salvo towards an island in the Sea of Japan.

Monday’s drills came just days after Pyongyang claimed to have tested a new “super-large warhead” cruise missile and a new type of anti-aircraft missile. The US and South Korean air forces also continue to hold joint exercises on the peninsula.

Read more: North Korea’s Kim Observes Military Drills Amid Rising Tensions

Pyongyang for the first time claims to have tested the country’s so-called “nuclear trigger” command and control system, as well as “[the] prompt counterattack capacity of the state nuclear force,” the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) wrote. Military units worked in a hypothetical scenario in which North Korea’s highest level nuclear crisis alarm is issued in response to an attack.

The salvo of missiles with simulated nuclear warheads “accurately” hit the island target some 352km away, KCNA stated. The North Korean leader expressed “great satisfaction” with the results of the exercise, it added.

The US, South Korea, and Japan have all condemned the launches as a threat to regional and international peace and security. The issue will be “on the agenda” when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken travels to China this week, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told the press on Monday.

Read more: Prepare for war with Russia, China, Iran and North Korea – UK defense minister

Pyongyang has dubbed the drills a “clear warning signal” to its “enemies,” accusing them of running a “military confrontation racket.” Joint US and South Korean air force exercises, set to continue until April 26, have run a hundred sorties per day on average, while not even trying to conceal their “extremely provocative and aggressive nature,” KCNA claimed.