North Korea responds to US-South Korea joint drill with simulated nuclear strike

Stefan Krasowski / Wikimedia Commons

Tensions escalated on the Korean Peninsula as North Korea’s military conducted a simulated tactical nuclear strike on August 30, 2023, in response to a joint military exercise by the United States and South Korea. 

The North Korean regime issued a press release condemning the joint drill as an act of aggression and a serious threat to the nation. The statement accused the US of conducting a joint attack formation drill with B-1B nuclear strategic bombers as part of a scenario for a preemptive nuclear strike against North Korea.  

“To cope with this, the KPA [the Korean People’s Army – ed. note] staged a tactical nuclear strike drill simulating scorched earth strikes at major command centers and operational airfields of the “ROK” military gangsters,” the General Staff of the KPA said in a statement. 

A missile unit reportedly fired two tactical ballistic missiles from Pyongyang International Airport (FNJ) towards the northeast. These missiles were programmed to detonate at a preset altitude of 400 meters above a target island to simulate a nuclear strike. 

North Korea’s first missile was launched at around 23:38 local time and reached an altitude of 50 kilometers (31 miles) and flew 350 kilometers (217 miles), while the second one launched at around 23:46, rose as high as 50 kilometers (31 miles) and flew 400 kilometers (248 miles), Japan’s Ministry of Defense said.  

Based on that data, the target island mentioned in the KPA press release appears to have been Yang-do Island in the North Hamgyong Province. 

The approximate trajectory of the two missiles (Japan Ministry of Defense) 

“North Korea’s series of actions, including its repeated ballistic missile launches, threaten the peace and security of Japan, the region, and the international community,” Japan’s Ministry of Defense commented. 

“The more North Korea obsesses over military threats and provocations, the more it will face the overwhelming response capabilities of South Korea, the US, and Japan, and must realize as soon as possible that its own security will only become more vulnerable,” South Korea’s Ministry of Unification said. 

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