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North Korea says tests a nuclear warning to South Korea, US

State media releases first pictures of recent barrage of launches showing leader Kim Jong Un overseeing ‘tactical nuclear drills’.

North Korea has said its recent barrage of missile launches were “tactical nuclear” drills personally overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, and a response to joint United States-South Korea naval exercises.

North Korea carried out its seventh launch in two weeks when it fired two ballistic missiles early on Sunday morning.

Showing the first pictures from the launches, state broadcaster KCNA reported Kim Jong Un guided the exercises, which involved ballistic missiles with mock nuclear warheads and were led by “tactical nuclear operations units”.

The various tests simulated targeting military command facilities, striking main ports, and airports in the South, KCNA added.

“The effectiveness and practical combat capability of our nuclear combat force were fully demonstrated as it stands completely ready to hit and destroy targets at any time from any location,” the report said.

“Even though the enemy continues to talk about dialogue and negotiations, we do not have anything to talk about nor do we feel the need to do so,” KCNA quoted Kim as saying.

Kim has long wanted to develop tactical nuclear weapons, and made it a priority at a key party congress in January 2021.

The country revised its nuclear laws last month, envisaging a wide array of scenarios in which it could use such weapons, with Kim declaring North Korea an “irreversible” nuclear power.

Since then Seoul, Tokyo and Washington have held combined naval exercises, including deploying the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier the USS Ronald Reagan to the area twice, infuriating Pyongyang, which sees such drills as rehearsals for invasion.

In response, North Korea “decided to organise military drills under the simulation of an actual war … in order to check and assess the war deterrent and nuclear counterattack capability of the country,” KCNA reported.

Source: Aljazeera