SEOUL, South Korea (HPD) — North Korea’s recent missile launches were tests of its tactical nuclear weapons to “attack and eliminate” potential South Korean and U.S. targets, state media said Monday, as leader Kim Jong Un said that he would do more provocative essays.
The North Korean remarks, released on the 77th anniversary of the country’s ruling Workers’ Party, were interpreted as an attempt to consolidate public support for Kim in the face of economic difficulties associated with the pandemic, a security threat posed by the strengthened alliance. between Washington and Seoul and other complications.
“Through seven occasions of tactical nuclear operation unit launch drills, the real warfare capabilities (…) of combat forces ready to strike and eliminate marked targets anytime, anywhere were fully demonstrated. ”, said the Korean Central News Agency.
The official agency added that the missile tests were in response to recent naval exercises between US and South Korean forces, in which the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan participated for the first time in five years.
North Korea considers these exercises an invasion rehearsal, although allies have reiterated that they are defensive in nature. Since a new conservative government took office in Seoul in May, the US and South Korean militaries have expanded their exercises, which had been scaled back due to the pandemic and now-stalled nuclear diplomacy between Pyongyang and Washington.
Kim Dong-yub, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said North Korea is likely trying to diversify its launch sites to make it more difficult for its enemies to identify launches in advance and make preemptive strikes.
Concerns about North Korea’s nuclear program have grown in recent months, after the country passed a law authorizing the preemptive use of its bombs in some cases and reportedly moved to deploy tactical nuclear weapons along its border with North Korea. South Korea.
It has also conducted a record number of weapons tests, with more than 40 test launches of ballistic and cruise missiles.
Some experts say Kim Jong Un wants to use his advanced nuclear arsenal to get the United States to recognize North Korea as a legitimate nuclear state, something Kim sees as crucial to lifting crippling United Nations sanctions on his country.
The North Korean leader said the new launches were “an obvious warning” to South Korea and the United States informing them of North Korea’s nuclear response posture and offensive capability. Kim also reiterated that he has no intention of resuming disarmament diplomacy with the United States and preferred to focus on expanding his arsenal, according to the official news agency.