North Korea fires missiles in response to South Korea-US drills

Vowing “merciless” retaliation, North Korea fired two short-range missiles into the sea while the United States and South Korea conducted their annual joint military exercises.


Tensions always mount during these drills, but this year they assumed a more ominous tone, as North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un reportedly told his army to “prepare for war” with the United States, according to AFP.

“The prevailing situation where a great war for national reunification is at hand requires all the KPA [Korean People’s Army] units to become [elite] Guard Units fully prepared for war, politically and ideologically, in military technique and materially,” he said, according to the Korean Central News Agency. 

Kim reportedly added that he wanted his army to train to “tear to pieces the Stars and Stripes.” 

He made his remarks in Pyongyang at the opening of a new hall at the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum.

AFP reported:

North Korea has threatened attacks, including nuclear strikes, on the US before, although it has never demonstrated a missile capability that would encompass the US mainland.

The largest element of the two South Korea-US drills that began Monday is Foal Eagle, an eight-week exercise involving air, ground and naval field training, with around 200,000 Korean and 3,700 US troops.

The other is a week-long, largely computer-simulated joint drill called Key Resolve.

Although North Korea has carried out nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013 — a more ominous form of saber-rattling, analyst Jeung said Pyongyang was unlikely to conduct a fourth test just to protest the exercises.

“Nuclear tests carry more significance than that,” he said.

“On the other hand, there is the chance of a mid- or long-range missile test,” Jeung told AFP.


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