NewsAsiaNorth Korea fired two missiles capable of 'tactical nuclear attack'

North Korea fired two missiles capable of ‘tactical nuclear attack’

Published on : 02/20/2023 – 09:42

North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles on Monday, Seoul said, two days after the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) condemned by the UN secretary general. These new shots are capable of a “tactical nuclear attack” that can completely destroy enemy airbases, according to Pyongyang.

North Korea claimed to have fired, on Monday, February 20, two missiles capable, according to it, of a “tactical nuclear attack” that could completely destroy enemy air bases.

This is the second North Korean launch in 48 hours, after the launch of one of its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) on Saturday in response to a military exercise planned by Washington and Seoul.

The launch of this ICBM, which Tokyo says fell in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), led Washington and Seoul to organize joint aerial maneuvers on Sunday.

According to the official North Korean agency KCNA, Monday’s “exercise” was carried out in response to these aerial exercises, with Pyongyang accusing the two allies of being responsible for the deterioration of the security situation on the peninsula.

North Korea on Monday used “super-large multiple rocket launchers”, which constitute “means of tactical nuclear attack”, which allowed “the Korean People’s Army (to demonstrate) its full capacity of deterrence and its will to counter” the joint American-South Korean aerial exercises on Sunday.

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Unlike Pyongyang, the United States usually refers to these rockets as “short-range ballistic missiles”, explains the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington-based think tank.

The South Korean army had thus claimed to have detected the firing of two short-range ballistic missiles on Monday between 07:00 and 07:11 (22:00 and 22:11 GMT) which traveled a distance of 390 km for one and 340 km for the other before falling into the East Sea, in reference to the body of water also known as the Sea of ​​Japan.

Seoul called the launch a “serious provocation that undermines peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula” and called on Pyongyang to end it “immediately”.

At the request of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the United Nations Security Council will meet urgently on Tuesday afternoon in New York.

“Nuclear Counterattack”

In a statement released Monday morning, the North Korean leader’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, warned that Pyongyang would continue to monitor moves by Washington and Seoul to deploy more US strategic assets in the region, vowing to take “countermeasures”. -corresponding measures” to any perceived threat.

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“The frequency of use of the Pacific as a firing range depends on the type of action of the American forces,” she said in a statement published by KCNA.

Pyongyang had claimed its firing of an ICBM on Saturday was part of a “surprise” exercise which it said demonstrated its “deadly nuclear counterattack” capabilities. Japan clarified that this ICBM flew for 66 minutes before falling back into its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

In response, Seoul and Washington held joint aerial exercises on Sunday, mobilizing a strategic bomber and stealth fighter jets.

The launch was “strongly” condemned by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, his spokesman said on Sunday, urging Pyongyang to stop its “provocative actions”.

North Korea praised its soldiers for carrying out the “sudden firing exercise” on Saturday, but South Korean experts have pointed out that the nine-hour delay between the order and the launch was not particularly fast.

Kim Yo Jong dismissed these criticisms, describing them as “an attempt to underestimate the readiness of the ballistic forces” of Pyongyang.

Threat to American bases?

Hong Min, of the Korea Institute for National Unification, told AFP that the angry reaction was part of a “tendency” of North Korea to oppose any outside assessment of its capabilities. in ICBMs.

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“Kim’s virulent and angry reaction to the outside assessment of his ICBM launch shows that the North is serious about getting the message across that it is capable of striking the continental United States,” he noted, adding that Monday’s launch was a response “to the joint U.S.-South Korean air exercise over the weekend.”

The use of shorter-range missiles indicates that North Korea is “virtually targeting US bases and the South Korean command center in the region”, according to Kim Yo Jong.

The North’s launches, carried out despite heavy international sanctions on its weapons programs, came just before the start of joint drills between Seoul and Washington scheduled for later this week to improve their response in the event of an attack. North Korean nuclear attack.

Last week, Pyongyang warned it would react with “unprecedented” vigor to the upcoming drills, which it describes as preparations for war.

Relations between Pyongyang and Seoul are already at their lowest level in years. In 2022, the North called its status as a nuclear power “irreversible” and Kim Jong Un called for “exponential” growth in the production of armaments, including tactical nuclear weapons.

With AFP

Source: France 24


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