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North Korea says it simulated nuclear missile strike to warn US of ‘nuclear threat of war’

North Korea said on Sunday it had simulated a nuclear missile strike to warn the United States of “a nuclear threat of war.”

The country launched several cruise missiles, some equipped with mock nuclear warheads, according to state media KCNA, which described the exercise as a simulation of a “tactical nuclear attack.”

The exercises were designed to “warn the enemies of the real danger of nuclear war,” KCNA said, according to the Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea.

It said the exercises were conducted at dawn on Saturday and involved “two long-range strategic cruise missiles with mock nuclear warheads.”

The staged nuclear strike was in response to joint military exercises conducted by the United States and South Korea earlier this week, KCNA added.

“The recklessness and dangerous nature of the confrontation hysteria recently betrayed by the US and ‘Republic of Korea’ gangsters is unprecedented in history,” KCNA said in a reference to South Korea.

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It cited a “written exercise order” issued by the military commission, which stressed the “importance” of the North Korean exercise.

A photo released by North Korea on Sept. 3, 2023, shows what it says is a simulated “tactical nuclear strike” exercise. —KCNA/Reuters

“The missile subunit involved…successfully performed its nuclear strike mission by causing missiles to fly along the flight path of pattern ‘8’, simulating the distance of 1,500 kilometers (approximately 1 mile) for 7,672 to 7,681 seconds, respectively, and warheads exploded at a preset height of 500 feet above the target island,” KCNA reported.

“The core strength of [North Korea] will strengthen its responsible attitude in the fight against battle in every possible way to deter war and preserve peace and stability,” it added.

The South Korean military said it detected several cruise missiles fired by North Korea in the Yellow Sea between mainland China and the Korean Peninsula around 4 a.m. local time on Saturday.

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A photo released by North Korea on September 3, 2023 shows it to be a simulated photo "tactical nuclear strike" excercise .  —KCNA/Reuters

A photo released by North Korea on Sept. 3, 2023, shows what it says is a simulated “tactical nuclear strike” exercise. —KCNA/Reuters

This week, South Korea and the US began annual joint military exercises to improve their response to threats emanating from Pyongyang.

North Korea has conducted 18 missile tests so far this year, compared to just four tests in 2020 and eight in 2021.

The live firing exercises between the US and South Korea took place on Wednesday. South Korean and US commanders said the exercises demonstrated “the strongest military alliance in the world.”

The exercise, based on a counterattack against invading forces, has not been seen since 2018 and comes after US and South Korean presidents pledged to step up military cooperation following a May summit in Seoul.

CNN was one of two Western media organizations invited to watch the training.

With previous coverage from CNN’s Yoonjung Seo in Seoul

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