Military drills between South Korea and the US begin as Kim Jong Un monitors a cruise missile test.

Estimated read time 3 min read

Military drills between South Korea and the US begin as Kim Jong Un monitors a cruise missile test.

The leader of North Korea has promised a “overwhelming” response to this month’s joint military drills by South Korea and the US.

Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, oversaw a strategic cruise missile launch as annual military exercises between South Korea and the US got underway, which Pyongyang views as a wargame.

State-run news agency KCNA said on Monday that the test occurred while Kim paid a visit to a naval base on the east coast, where he was seen standing on the deck of a ship flanked by commanders. Kim might be seen on the waterfront in another picture witnessing a missile launch.

The trip’s date and specifics on the missiles themselves were not provided by KCNA.

According to KCNA, the launch was intended to test the “combat function of the ship and the feature of its missile system” and to enhance the sailors’ ability to execute “attack missions in actual war.”

It stated, “The ship quickly hit target without even a mistake.”

According to KCNA, Kim praised the ship for maintaining “high mobility, mighty striking power, and constant combat readiness to cope with sudden situations.”

Hours before the Ulchi Freedom Shield military exercises, which involve tens of thousands of troops from the two nations and are intended to improve their cooperative responses to North Korea’s increasing nuclear and missile threats, began, the state media reported the incident.

The drills, which are scheduled to last until August 31, have drawn condemnation from Pyongyang, which has frequently threatened “overwhelming” retaliation.

According to South Korea’s military, this year’s drills would be undertaken on the “largest scale ever” and will include some UN Command members.

The drills will be carried out under a variety of contingency scenarios, including cyber, terror, and drone assaults as well as a North Korean disinformation campaign, according to South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in a statement on Monday.

Yoon said at a National Security Council meeting: “True peace is preserved only by overwhelming force, not by one-sided begging or goodwill.” “We will instantly and overwhelmingly retaliate for any provocations,” the statement reads. “North Korea talks about preemptive nuclear strikes and preparations for an offensive war.”

According to authorities, suspected North Korean hackers have already made email attacks against South Korean contractors participating in the exercises at the combined exercise war simulation facility.

Last week, lawmakers in South Korea issued a warning that Pyongyang might attempt to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile or engage in other military activity in retaliation for the drills or the historic meeting of the presidents of South Korea, the US, and Japan.

Since the end of 2021, North Korea has been conducting ongoing tests of what it refers to as “strategic cruise missiles,” and some analysts have speculated that these missiles could carry nuclear warheads. North Korea, which has been seeking to update its military equipment, displayed what it claimed was a brand-new underwater assault drone with nuclear weapons capability in March.

Kim promised to give the navy “improved combat efficiency and full modern means of surface and underwater offensive and defensive” capabilities while on board the ship, according to KCNA.

He was cited as saying, “We would push for the modernization of naval armaments and equipment, including the construction of potent warships and the creation of shipboard and underwater weapon systems.

“The Navy should steadfastly maintain constant mobility and steadily build up its capability for real combat so that it can actively carry out its combat missions under adverse conditions.”

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