North Korea on Monday said the recent missile tests were part of its two-week-long “tactical nuclear” drills to simulate hitting South Korea with nuclear weapons.
According to the state-run media, the drills and missile launches were in response to the recent joint drills by the US, South Korea, and Japan.
“The units of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) for the operation of tactical nukes staged military drills from Sept. 25 to Oct. 9 in order to check and assess the war deterrent and nuclear counterattack capability of the country, which comes to be a severe warning to the enemies,” Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un also observed the drills and praised his nuclear combat forces for holding an important mission.
“The drill was aimed at confirming the order of taking tactical nuclear warheads out and transporting them and of managing them in a rapid and safe way at the time of operation,” said KCNA.
During the two-week-long drills, Pyongyang’s military fired tactical ballistic missiles above the set target in the air of the East Sea of Korea to check the reliability of the warhead.
Pyongyang also claimed that its various types of tactical ballistic missiles also hit targets successfully between Sept. 29 and Oct. 1.
“At the ballistic missile launching drill simulating the loading of tactical nuclear warheads which was staged on Sept. 28 for the purpose of neutralizing the airports in the operation zones of South Korea, the stability of the overall system related to the operation of warheads was proved,” the official media said.
North Korea also confirmed the launch of a new-type ground-to-ground intermediate-range ballistic missile that flew over Japan on Oct. 4 and said it was a clear warning to hit targets in the pacific area of 4,500 kilometers (2,796 miles) across the Japanese Islands.
North Korea launched a missile Tuesday which flew above Japan and fell into the East Sea. It marked the first time that North Korea had fired a ballistic missile above the Japanese archipelago in five years.
Pyongyang also warned that its forces are fully ready to hit and wipe out the set objects at the intended places in the set time.
Meanwhile, North Korean leader Kim again rejected any dialogue with the US and South Korea.
“The enemies have still talked about dialogue and negotiation while posing military threats to us, but we have no content for dialogue with the enemies and felt no necessity to do so,” the agency quoted Kim as saying.
“Above all, we should send a clearer signal to the enemies escalating the regional situation by involving the huge armed forces in any time with more powerful and resolute will and action,” he added.
Kim also accused the US and South Korea of escalating tension in the region and said it will only invite North Korea’s greater reaction.