HomeTop StoriesNorth Korea fires two strategic cruise missiles from a submarine: KCNA

North Korea fires two strategic cruise missiles from a submarine: KCNA

North Korea fired two strategic cruise missiles from a submarine in a show of force hours before the United States and South Korea were to hold major joint military exercises, state media reported early Monday.

A submarine fired the weapons from the waters off the eastern coastal town of Sinpo on Sunday morning, the KCNA news agency said.

The South Korean military said it detected the launch of a single unspecified missile, without giving details, the Yonhap news agency said.

KCNA said the exercise was successful, as the missiles hit their designated and unspecified targets in waters off the east coast of the Korean peninsula.

The launch came hours before South Korea and the United States were due to begin their largest joint exercises in five years on Monday. Nuclear-armed Pyongyang has warned that such exercises could be seen as a “declaration of war”.

The KCNA report announcing Sunday’s missile launch said the test firing expressed North Korea’s “unchangeable attitude” to facing a situation where “US imperialists and South Korean puppet forces are becoming increasingly undisguised in their anti -DPRK military maneuvers.”

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North Korea is the abbreviation of the official name of North Korea.

KCNA said the exercise also “verified the current operational posture of the nuclear war deterrents in various spaces.”

In a separate statement, North Korea’s foreign ministry said the United States was making “plans” to convene a UN Security Council meeting on human rights in the retreating communist state to coincide with the joint maneuvers.

“The DPRK bitterly condemns and categorically rejects the vicious US ‘human rights’ scam as the most intense manifestation of its hostile policy towards the DPRK,” the ministry said, according to KCNA.

Washington and Seoul have stepped up defense cooperation in the face of rising military and nuclear threats from the north, which has conducted increasingly provocative tests of banned weapons in recent months.

The US-South Korea exercises, dubbed Freedom Shield, will run for at least 10 days starting Monday and will focus on the “changing security environment” due to North Korea’s redoubled aggression, the allies said.

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– ‘Real War’ –

In a rare move, the Seoul military revealed this month that it and Washington’s special forces organized “Teak Knife” military exercises – simulating precision strikes against key facilities in North Korea – ahead of Freedom Shield.

All such exercises infuriate North Korea, which sees them as rehearsals for an invasion.

It has said its nuclear and missile programs are for self-defense.

“Pyongyang has developing military capabilities that it wants to test anyway and likes to use Washington-Seoul cooperation as an excuse,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul.

Last year, the North declared itself an “irreversible” nuclear power and fired a record number of missiles, with leader Kim Jong Un last week ordering his army to step up their own exercises to prepare for “real war”.

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

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South Korea, for its part, is keen to reassure its increasingly nervous public about the US’s commitment to so-called comprehensive deterrence, in which US military assets, including nuclear weapons, serve to prevent attacks on allies.


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