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North Korea's Kim supervises firing drills simulating pre-emptive attacks on South Korea

Author
Hyung-Jin Kim,
Publish Date
Fri, 31 May 2024, 2:47pm
This undated photo provided on Friday, May 31, 2024 by the North Korean government, shows what it says firing drills at an undisclosed place in North Korea. 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" (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
This undated photo provided on Friday, May 31, 2024 by the North Korean government, shows what it says firing drills at an undisclosed place in North Korea. 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" (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

North Korea's Kim supervises firing drills simulating pre-emptive attacks on South Korea

Author
Hyung-Jin Kim,
Publish Date
Fri, 31 May 2024, 2:47pm

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised firing drills involving nuclear-capable "super-large" multiple rocket launchers to show the country's ability to carry out pre-emptive attacks on rival South Korea, state media reported Friday.

The firing exercises are an apparent reference to the suspected barrage of ballistic missile test-launches that South Korea said North Korea conducted on Thursday. Experts say North Korea's large-sized artillery rockets blur the boundaries between artillery systems and short-range ballistic missiles because they can create their own thrust and are guided during delivery.

The North's Korean Central News Agency reported its latest weapons tests are meant to demonstrate North Korea's resolve not to hesitate to launch a preemptive strike on South Korea, if threatened. It cited Kim as saying that the drills "will serve as an occasion in clearly showing what consequences our rivals will face if they provoke us."

KCNA accused South Korea of staging a "clumsy counteraction of dangerous armed demonstration against the exercise of legitimate sovereign right" of North Korea.

That refers to a South Korean aerial exercise performed hours before North Korea's failed spy satellite launch on Monday night. If successful, North Korea would have placed its second spy satellite into orbit. Kim Inae, a spokesperson of South Korea's Unification Ministry, said Seoul "strongly condemns" North Korea for issuing verbal threats of preemptive strikes against the South and for violating U.N. Security Council resolutions with its weapons demonstrations and the space launch attempt.

The multiple rocket launchers are one of North Korea's main weapons systems targeting South Korea. North Korea says weapons fired from the launchers can carry tactical nuclear warheads.
Photos released by state media showed Kim watching from a distance at least 18 projectiles soaring after being fired from launch trucks. South Korea's military earlier said North Korea fired about 10 suspected ballistic missiles toward the sea off its east coast.

North Korea's failed spy satellite launch drew strong condemnation from the U.S., South Korea and others because the U.N. bans any satellite launches by North Korea, viewing them as covers for testing missile technologies. North Korea maintains it has the rights to launch satellites and test missiles.

In recent years, North Korea has been engaged in a run of weapons tests to bolster its nuclear capability to cope with what it calls intensifying U.S. military threats. Foreign experts say North Korea would eventually aim to use a bigger nuclear arsenal to wrest greater concessions from the U.S. when diplomacy resumes.

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