N Korea conducts new weapons tests; US, S Korea begin drills | Military News

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North Korea says its allies’ military exercises are a rehearsal for war, so their weapons are vital for defense.

North Korea has fired two strategic missiles from a submarine in a show of force just hours before the United States and South Korea began their biggest military exercises in five years.

The tests, reported by state media on Monday, came days after leader Kim Jong Un monitored the launch of a series of weapons and ordered his troops to make efforts to “preparatory maneuvers fierce war” to repel his rivals.

The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the missiles launched showed Pyongyong’s intention to respond with “terribly powerful forces” to military moves by what it called “US imperialism and South Korean puppet forces”. .

KCNA also said that North Korea is targeting the cruise missiles that have been tested with military nuclear warheads.

Pyongyang sees military exercises between the US and South Korea as preparations for an attack and argues that its nuclear weapons and missile programs are necessary for self-defense.

The US and South Korean militaries began their ‘Freedom Shield’ exercises early Monday, the first time such large-scale drills have been held since 2018 when they were suspended in support of renewed diplomatic efforts to secure Korea’s denuclearization. North to secure.

The latest exercises include a computer simulation called Freedom Shield 23 and several combined field training exercises, collectively known as Warrior Shield FTX.

The drills are expected to continue for at least 10 days and will focus on the “changing security environment” amid North Korea’s nuclear threats, according to the South Korean and US armed forces.

North Korea conducted a record number of missile tests in 2022 and adopted an increasingly aggressive nuclear doctrine.

The state news agency said that in the latest tests, the missiles flew for more than two hours, drawing figure-eight patterns over waters off the country’s east coast, and hitting targets 1,500km (932 miles) away.

The missiles were fired from the 8.24 Yongung, KCNA said, referring to a submarine North Korea has used to conduct all submarine-launched ballistic missile tests since 2016.

Earlier, South Korea’s military said it detected a submarine launch in waters near North Korea’s east coast in Sinpo on Sunday. The North Korean port city has a major submarine-building shipyard.

Experts say Kim is trying to pressure the US to accept North Korea as a legitimate nuclear power and to ease international sanctions that are hampering its economy.

“North Korea will use Exercise Freedom Shield 2023 to unify its people and as an excuse to further invest in weapons of mass destruction,” said Chun In-bum, a retired South Korean army general. to the AFP news agency.

“More missiles with variations in style and scope should be expected to be launched with even a nuclear test. More fear from North Korea should come as no surprise. “

Washington has repeatedly reiterated its “ironclad” commitment to defending South Korea, including using the “full range of military capabilities, including nuclear”.

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