Korean Peninsula A to Z


North Korea Says Continued Provocations are Response to South Korea, U.S. Drills

Hot Issues of the Week2022-10-16


North Korean state media has given an explanation to the recent surge of missile launches in North Korea. They reported about a "tactical nuclear missile exercise" on Monday, which was part of drills that lasted more than two weeks. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un took part in the training, and noted that he has no plans to talk to enemies. 

Report: In the wake of the recent series of ballistic missile launches by North Korea, state-run media in Pyongyang said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspected a 15-day military exercise, which included tactical nuclear missile drills. 

Korea Central TV and other North Korean media on Monday reported on the training, during which seven short and mid-range missile launches were detected in the North.

[Ri Chun-hi - Newsreader, Korea Central TV (Korean-English)]

"Respected Comrade Kim Jong-un has guided the exercises of the Korean People's Army tactical nuclear units. The units of the Korean People's Army for the operation of tactical nukes staged military drills from September 25 to October 9 in order to check and assess the war deterrent and nuclear counterattack capability of the country, which comes to be a severe warning to the enemies." 

According to the state-run media, during the training, Kim pledged to further boost his nuclear weapons program. He also said that he has nothing to discuss with the enemies, who he said raised military threats but continued to discuss the need for talks. The state-run media said that the ballistic missile tests included "simulation of loading tactical nuclear warheads," hinting at the North's short-range nuclear striking capabilities.

It also revealed that North Korea test fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile from a reservoir in the northwestern region of the country on September 25. Tensions on the Peninsula peaked last week as North Korea test fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile(IRBM) on a trajectory over northern Japan.

While the exercise was on-going in the North, South Korea and the U.S. conducted a large-scale combined naval exercise in the East Sea, involving the USS Ronald Reagan supercarrier. 

[Ri Chun-hi - Newsreader, Korea Central TV (Korean-English)]

"The military drills were carried out amid the ongoing dangerous military drills staged by large-scale combined naval forces, including U.S. carrier, Aegis destroyer and nuclear-powered submarine in the waters off the Korean Peninsula." 

Amid rising concerns of North Korea's seventh underground nuclear test, North Korean parliament recently passed legislation, authorizing the military to automatically launch nuclear strikes in case of a security threat against the North Korean regime.

President Yoon Suk Yeol responded to North Korea's announcement of its recent tactical nuclear weapons training, saying that the regime will gain nothing from its nuclear program. 

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Yoon also said that the government will form a stronger scrum with the U.S. and Japan to deal with the North.  

When asked to comment on the rising calls for the redeployment of U.S. tactical nuclear missiles, which were withdrawn from the Korean Peninsula in the 1990s, President Yoon declined to address the issue directly. Yoon said, however, that he is carefully paying attention to opinions in both South Korea and the U.S.

North Korea continued the missile tests and drills throughout the week, including a series of provocations on Thursday night.

From around 10:30 p.m. Thursday until 12:20 a.m. Friday, North Korea flew about ten warplanes, some traveling as far south as five kilometers north of a no-fly zone the two Koreas had set in their 2018 military tension-diffusing agreement.

This prompted the South Korean Air Force to mobilize its F-35A stealth fighters and other assets for immediate response.

The North then launched a short-range ballistic missile(SRBM) from Pyongyang's Sunan area at around 1:50 a.m. Friday, which traveled some 700 kilometers towards the East Sea at an altitude of around 50 kilometers and a top speed of Mach 6.

Before and after the SRBM launch, Pyongyang fired around 170 artillery shots, with some 130 falling into the western maritime "buffer zone" set under the 2018 agreement, and another 40 into the "buffer zone" to the east.

The General Staff Department of the Korean People's Army issued a statement soon after the SRBM launch, claiming that the overnight military actions were in response to South Korea's firing of artillery shots that lasted some ten hours on Thursday.

The South's Joint Chiefs of Staff(JCS) refuted the claim, saying the shots were a part of U.S. Forces Korea's(USFK) planned rocket training.

The JCS criticized the North for firing artillery shots into buffer zones in breach of the 2018 pact and UN Security Council resolutions that ban ballistic missiles, strongly urging the regime to immediately halt such provocations.

The defense ministry sent a notice to the North through a military hotline, urging it to abide by the treaty and to prevent a recurrence.

A further provocation came on Friday afternoon, when North Korea fired hundreds of artillery shells into the East and West Seas, which the South Korean military calls a violation of an inter-Korean military accord.

Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said on Friday evening that it detected the North firing some 90 artillery shells into the East Sea from the Jangjon area in Kangwon Province between 5 and 6:30 p.m.

The North also fired around 90 and 210 shells respectively from two coastal West Sea areas, Haeju Bay and a site west of Jangsan Cape, between 5:20 and 7 p.m., according to the JCS. The shelling amounts to some 400 rounds in total.

Latest News