Missile test simulates nuke strikes on US targets in South Korea: Pyongyang

July 20, 2016 5:34 am

This undated picture released
from North ’s official Korean Central Agency (KCNA) on June
23, 2016 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting a
ballistic missile test fire at an undisclosed location in North Korea.
(AFP)

Pyongyang says its latest
ballistic missile test simulates the launching of preemptive nuke
strikes against bases in , and was personally monitored by
North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.

According to a
statement released by North Korea’s official KCNA news agency on
Wednesday, the test “examined the operational features of the detonating
devices of nuclear warheads mounted on the ballistic rockets at the
designated altitude over the target area,” and aimed at mimicking
possible strikes on South Korean ports and airfields hosting US military
“hardware.”
Early on Tuesday, Pyongyang launched three ballistic missiles, believed to be two SCUD missiles and a Rodong medium-range missile,
from an area in the North’s western region into the Sea of Japan, just
over a week after threatening a “physical response” to the US’s
deployment of the sophisticated Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system in the South.
In
a statement released shortly after the launch, South Korea’s military
said that “the ballistic missiles flight went from 500 kilometers to 600
kilometers, which is a distance far enough to strike all of South Korea
including Busan.”

This
undated picture released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News
Agency (KCNA) on June 23, 2016 shows a test launch of the
surface-to-surface medium long-range strategic ballistic missile
Hwasong-10 at an undisclosed location in North Korea. (AFP)Washington
and Seoul began intense consultations on THAAD after North Korea
conducted its fourth nuclear test in January, which was followed by a
satellite launch and a string of test-launches of various missiles.
THAAD
has been designed to intercept ballistic missiles inside or just
outside the atmosphere during their final phase of flight.
Last
week, Seoul confirmed that THAAD would be installed in Seongju County
about 200 kilometers (135 miles) southeast of Seoul by the end of next
year. The announcement, however, sparked several large protests staged
by residents of the county, who fear potential risks to local
environment and security.
Separately, the United Nations also
denounced Pyongyang’s Tuesday missile tests and said that they were in
violation of existing UN resolutions against the North.
“The
DPRK’s firing of missiles is deeply troubling. Such actions are not
conducive to reducing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.” said Farhan
Haq, a spokesman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Thousands
of South Korean residents hold up red banners reading “We absolutely
oppose THAAD deployment,” in Seongju, July 13, 2016. (AFP)The
UN has generally imposed a ban on Pyongyang’s developing of the
ballistic missile technology. It has adopted five rounds of crippling
sanctions on the North since it first tested an atomic device in 2006.
Tensions
have been flaring in the region since January, when North Korea said it
had successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb, its fourth nuclear test,
and vowed to build up its nuclear program as deterrence against
potential aggression from the US and its regional allies.    
A
month later, Pyongyang launched a long-range rocket which it said
placed an earth observation satellite into orbit. However, Washington
and Seoul denounced it as a cover for an intercontinental ballistic
missile test. ​
North Korea says it will not give up on its
nuclear deterrence unless Washington ends its hostile policy toward
Pyongyang and dissolves the US-led UN command in South Korea. There are
around 3,000 US troops permanently stationed in South Korea.
The two Koreas technically remain in a state of war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.

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