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North Korean state media says earlier missile launches were intended to ‘wipe out’ enemies

North Korean state media reported Monday that earlier missile launches were intended to “hit and wipe out” potential South Korean and U.S. targets following recent U.S. and South Korea naval drills. 

“Through seven times of launching drills of the tactical nuclear operation units, the actual war capabilities … of the nuclear combat forces ready to hit and wipe out the set objects at any location and any time were displayed to the full,” the Korean Central News Agency said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un indicated additional provocative tests were to come. 

The KCNA reported the missile tests were in response to Friday’s naval drills between the U.S. and South Korea that engaged the use of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. 

NORTH KOREA’S KIM JONG UN OVERSAW TACTICAL NUCLEAR MILITARY TRAINING

An Army Tactical Missile System or ATACMS, missile is fired during a joint military drill between U.S. and South Korea at an undisclosed location in South Korea, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022. The Joint Chiefs of Staff said the South Korean and U.S. militaries successfully fired a total of four Army Tactical Missile Systems missiles during the exercise that it said was aimed at demonstrating its precision strike capabilities against the North.

An Army Tactical Missile System or ATACMS, missile is fired during a joint military drill between U.S. and South Korea at an undisclosed location in South Korea, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022. The Joint Chiefs of Staff said the South Korean and U.S. militaries successfully fired a total of four Army Tactical Missile Systems missiles during the exercise that it said was aimed at demonstrating its precision strike capabilities against the North.
(South Korea Defense Ministry via AP)

State media reported that the aforementioned drills were viewed as military threats by North Korea. The country decided to stage “the simulation of an actual war” as a result. The drills were meant to check and improve the country’s war deterrence while also standing as a warning sign for enemies. 

The drills also took place just one day after North Korea fired ballistic missiles and flew warplanes amid rising tensions between the Asian countries. North Korea had also fired ballistic missiles over Japan on Tuesday in response to earlier training with South Korean navy ships. 

The missiles fired over Japan proved to be North Korea’s longest-ever weapons test, with the missiles having the capability to reach the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam and farther. The Japanese government was forced to issue evacuation alerts as result. 

NORTH KOREA FIRES TWO MISSILES SHORTLY AFTER US-SOUTH KOREA DRILLS CONCLUDE

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends at a meeting of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang, North Korea on Feb. 28, 2022. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. 

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends at a meeting of the Workers’ Party of Korea in Pyongyang, North Korea on Feb. 28, 2022. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: “KCNA” which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. 
(Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

Cheong Seong-Chang at South Korea’s Sejong Institute told the Associated Press North Korea’s missile launches over Japan marked the country’s first time performing drills while engaging army units in charge of operating tactical nuclear weapons.

It was also North Korea’s first public missile launch from an inland reservoir, with a previous missile having been launched from a submarine. 

Tensions between the North and South have grown more aggressive over the last several months, with the North now viewing U.S. and South Korean drills as an invasion rehearsal. Such drills have been expanding since May when a new conservative government was inaugurated in South Korea. 

NUCLEAR-POWERED US CARRIER JOINS SOUTH KOREA WARSHIPS FOR DRILLS AFTER NORTH KOREA MISSILE LAUNCHES

In this photo provided by South Korea Defense Ministry, South Korean Air Force's F15K fighter jets and U.S. Air Force's F-16 fighter jets, fly in formation during a joint drill in an undisclosed location in South Korea, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. The South Korean and U.S. militaries responded to a North Korea morning missile launch by launching fighter jets which fired weapons at a target off South Korea's west coast in a show of strength against North Korea. 

In this photo provided by South Korea Defense Ministry, South Korean Air Force’s F15K fighter jets and U.S. Air Force’s F-16 fighter jets, fly in formation during a joint drill in an undisclosed location in South Korea, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. The South Korean and U.S. militaries responded to a North Korea morning missile launch by launching fighter jets which fired weapons at a target off South Korea’s west coast in a show of strength against North Korea. 
(South Korea Defense Ministry via AP)

All North Korean launches since then have been supervised by Kim Kong Un. Experts currently believe Kim Jong Un will eventually make use of North Korea’s advanced nuclear arsenal to gain recognition from the U.S. as a legitimate nuclear state. 

NORTH KOREA FLIES 12 WARPLANES NEAR SOUTH KOREAN BORDER, PROMPTING AIR FORCE SCRAMBLE

Kim Jong Un has previously stated the recent missile launches are “an obvious warning” to both Seoul and Washington as the countries continue their drill activities. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.  

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