North Korea conducts first nuclear counterattack simulation drills

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North Korea has conducted its first nuclear counterattack simulation drill to demonstrate its management system, led by leader Kim Jong Un, local news reported.

According to a report by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea carried out the drill as part of a test of the country’s counterattack capabilities.

The drill’s main purpose was to demonstrate the “reliability, superiority, might and diverse means” of the country’s nuclear power and to send a “clear warning signal” to enemies as the U.S. and South Korea strengthen ties.

North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles Monday into the sea off its eastern coast. It was detected by South Korean and Japanese militaries, The Associated Press reported.

The rockets flew about 185 miles before crashing in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, suggesting the weapons could hit sites in South Korea, officials said.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesperson, Lee Sung Joon, said it remains unclear if North Korea had perfected designs for small nuclear weapons that could fit on top of its rockets. He said North Korea was likely exaggerating its capabilities, and South Korea would be able to detect and intercept the north’s rocket launcher systems.

The AP noted that analysts say North Korea’s rockets blur the line between artillery systems and ballistic missiles because they create their own thrust and are guided during the delivery.

Photos showed Kim watching the rockets’ launch from an observation post. Kim expressed “great satisfaction” with the drill’s result, the local outlet reported.

The rockets can quickly switch over into a nuclear counterattack mode and its capabilities “were mastered,” the KCNA reported.

Kim said the country’s rocket launching capabilities have remarkably increased, and he is confident that the nuclear forces can “carry out their mission of deterring a war and taking an initiative in a war at any time and in any sudden situation.”

His comments reflect the country’s nuclear doctrine, which allows the military to launch preemptive nuclear strikes if it believes leadership is under a threat, the AP reported.

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