North Korea carried out a tactical nuclear attack drill, which included the launch of two long-range cruise missiles, in a bid to signal preparedness in the event of a nuclear conflict, according to the KCNA state news agency’s report on Sunday.
Successful Drill with Cruise Missiles
The exercise, conducted successfully on Saturday, saw the launch of two cruise missiles equipped with simulated nuclear warheads. These missiles were directed towards the West Sea of the Korean Peninsula and covered a distance of 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) while maintaining a preset altitude of 150 meters.
Escalation of Military Deterrence
Pyongyang also announced its intention to strengthen its military deterrence against both the United States and South Korea.
South Korea’s Response
However, South Korea’s military expressed reservations about the claimed success of the drill, suggesting that it could be an exaggeration. A senior official at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as reported by Seoul’s Yonhap News, pointed out that not all missiles may have achieved their objectives.
Kim Jong Un’s Factory Visits
In addition to the drill, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited the Pukjung Machine Complex, which manufactures marine engines, and a munitions factory. During these visits, Kim emphasized the importance of enhancing Pyongyang’s naval capabilities.
Future Plans for Modernization
A statement from KCNA indicated that Kim Jong Un affirmed the forthcoming plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Worker’s Party of Korea (WPK) would lay out plans for the modernization of the Pukjung Machine Complex and set the direction for the development of the shipbuilding industry.
It is worth noting that the report did not specify the exact date of Kim Jong Un’s factory visits.
Context of Missile Test
This missile test follows closely after the conclusion of the joint annual military exercises between South Korea and the United States, known as Ulchi Freedom Shield. These exercises included air drills involving B-1B bombers.
North Korea has been progressively enhancing its military capabilities in response to perceived threats from Washington and Seoul. The nation had also criticized a summit agreement reached between the two countries last month, which focused on improving military cooperation.