By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ISTANBUL (AA) – North Korea on Monday said it held a combined tactical drill to “substantially bolster the country's war deterrence and nuclear counterattack capability.”
Pyongyang on Sunday fired a short-range ballistic missile towards the East Sea amid ongoing military drills between the US and South Korea.
“There took place on March 18 and 19 a combined tactical drill to substantially bolster the country’s war deterrence and nuclear counterattack capability and let relevant units get familiar with the procedures and processes for implementing their tactical nuclear attack missions,” Pyongyang said in a statement on the official Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) on Monday.
Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader and general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, “guided” the tactical drill.
It said the combined tactical drill was “carried out under the tense situation in which a large-scale war drill is being frantically scaled up by the US-South Korea allied forces to invade the DPRK (North Korea), and (that) US nuclear strategic assets are massively brought to South Korea.”
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff had said: “While strengthening its monitoring and vigilance in preparation against the possibility of additional launches, our military is maintaining a full readiness posture in close cooperation with the United States.”
The latest missile launch was the fourth such show of force by North Korea in a week.
“The drill also aimed to demonstrate our tougher will to make an actual war response and send a stronger warning to the enemy who expand their war drills for aggression and take a series of military actions strong in their offensive nature, getting undisguised in their explicit attempt to unleash a war against the DPRK in disregard of its repeated warnings,” the KCNA statement added.
Pyongyang claimed that the first-day of the drill over the weekend “proved that the whole process of preparing for a nuclear counterattack is working in a fast, strict, highly reliable, and safe system.”
It confirmed that a ballistic missile was launched on Sunday “simulating a tactical nuclear attack which was observed by Minister of National Defense Kang Sun Nam."
“The nuclear force of the DPRK will strongly deter, control, and manage the enemy's reckless moves and provocations with its high war readiness, and carry out its important mission without hesitation in case of any unwanted situation,” KCNA also said.