Pyongyang promises ‘devastating’ response to US-South Korea drills
Pyongyang vowed on Monday that it would respond to joint exercises between the United States and South Korea with “firm and crushing” military action after a record string of missile launches in recent days.
This new warning came in response to a joint military exercise between the United States and South Korea, the largest ever for their air forces, which they dubbed “Awakening Storm.”
On Monday, the North’s official news agency quoted the General Staff of the “Korean People’s Army” as saying that it would respond to “any enemy war drills against the DPRK with sustained, resolute, devastating and practical military measures.” using North Korea’s official name.
The General Staff claimed to have fired tactical ballistic missiles simulating attacks on air bases and trained to shoot down enemy aircraft.
It said a ballistic missile had been launched to test a “special operational warhead that would cripple the enemy’s operational command system,” without giving further details about the weapon.
The North Korean Air Force also conducted “large-scale combat missions” that included 500 aircraft, according to the North’s official news agency. That mobilization prompted the South to deploy fighter jets on Friday.
Footage of North Korea’s military operations released Monday by the North’s official news agency showed missiles being fired from various undisclosed locations, including mobile launchers.
During the “Awakening Storm” maneuvers, North Korea launched dozens of ballistic missiles into the sea, one of which landed near southern territorial waters, prompting condemnation from South Korean President Yoon Suk-yul.
North Korea’s general staff also noted that North Korea’s recent ballistic missile tests represented a “clear response” to joint US-South Korea military exercises. The General Staff described the “Waking Storm” maneuvers as “a provocation aimed at deliberately increasing tensions in the region”.
“The more provocative the military actions of the enemies continue, the more precisely and harshly the KPA will counter them,” she added.
The United States and South Korea warned that the missile launches could be a prelude to a new North Korean nuclear test, and in response extended their largest-ever aerial exercises until Saturday.
Drills, in which the US Air Force used two long-range B-1B bombers, ended on Saturday, on the final day of a show of force.
While the B-1B supersonic bomber no longer carries nuclear weapons, the US Air Force considers it the “backbone of the long-range bomber” capable of striking anywhere in the world.
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