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As the United States and South Korea completed Operation Vigilant Storm, the largest joint air exercises ever conducted between the two countries, North Korea, which fired a record series of missile attacks these days, promised an “overwhelming” response on Monday.
A “sustained, firm and forceful” response. North Korea issued new threats on Monday (November 7) in response to joint US-South Korea military exercises, following a record series of missile launches in recent days.
This new warning from Pyongyang comes in response to the “Storm Watcher” exercise, the largest joint air exercises ever conducted by Seoul and Washington.
In a statement, the Korean People’s Army (KPA) General Staff said it will continue to “respond to all enemy war games against the DPRK with sustained, resolute and practical military measures.” , reported the official KCNA news agency.
In particular, the APC indicated that it had launched tactical ballistic missiles simulating attacks on air bases and had practiced shooting down enemy aircraft.
A ballistic missile was fired to test “a special functional warhead that cripples the enemy’s operations command system,” he said, without elaborating on this weapon.
The North Korean air force also carried out a “large-scale combat sortie operation,” involving 500 planes, according to the KCNA. This mobilization prompted the South to deploy fighter jets on Friday.
Pictures of North Korea’s military operations released by KCNA on Monday show missiles fired from several undisclosed locations, including some from mobile launchers.
During “Storm Watchman,” North Korea fired several dozen ballistic missiles into the sea, one of which landed near southern territorial waters. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has denounced a “de facto territorial invasion.”
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These missile tests, which were accompanied by artillery shelling, were a “clear response” to joint exercises by the United States and South Korea, the North Korean statement added. The general staff called “Storm Vigilante” a “provocation intended to intentionally increase tension in the region.”
“The longer the enemy’s military provocations continue, the more fully and ruthlessly the KPA will counter them,” the statement further threatens.
Hundreds of US and South Korean warplanes, including powerful B-1B heavy bombers, took part in the “Storm Vigilante” exercises from October 31 to November 5. It was the first time the B-1Bs had visited the Korean Peninsula since December 2017.
According to the South Korean general staff, these maneuvers were aimed at demonstrating the “ability and readiness to respond firmly to any North Korean provocation”.
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The US and South Korean exercises have long drawn strong reactions from North Korea, which sees them as dress rehearsals for an invasion of its territory or an attempt to topple its regime.
The air maneuvers are of particular concern to Pyongyang, analysts said, as its air force is one of the weakest links in its military, which lacks both technologically advanced aircraft and experienced pilots.
A new nuclear test in preparation
Details of North Korea’s operations last week indicate the importance it places on destroying southern air bases, said Cheong Seong-chang, a researcher at the Sejong Institute.
“North Korea considers it important to attack and neutralize air bases first, because its air power is weak,” he told AFP.
North Korea had already revised its nuclear doctrine in September to allow itself to carry out preemptive strikes in the event of an existential threat against the Kim Jong-un regime.
If the “command and control system [nucléaire de la Corée du Nord est] endangered by attack by hostile forces, a nuclear attack will be launched automatically and immediately,” says the new doctrine.
South Korea began its annual computer-simulated military exercise called “Taegeuk” on Monday, which aims to improve its ability to respond to various threats from North Korea, the Yonhap news agency reported.
Seoul and Washington expect Pyongyang to carry out a nuclear test soon, which would be the seventh in its history and the first since 2017.