DPRK says it tested two nuclear-capable cruise missiles
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says his country's nuclear combat forces were at "full preparedness for actual war."
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised the launch of two long-range cruise missiles, state media confirmed Thursday, adding that the weapons were equipped to carry tactical nukes and had already been deployed to North Korean army units.
Pyongyang has conducted ballistic missile tests recently which it described as tactical nuclear drills that simulated taking out airports and military facilities across South Korea. Analysts claimed that North Korea had completed preparations for another nuclear test.
The cruise missiles -- which travel at much lower altitudes than ballistic missiles, making them harder to detect and intercept -- traveled 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) over the sea Wednesday before hitting their targets, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
Kim expressed "great satisfaction" with the tests for improving the combat efficiency of the cruise missiles, which KCNA indicated have already been "deployed at the units of the Korean People's Army for the operation of tactical nukes."
BREAKING: North Korea releases first images of various missile tests conducted between Sept. 25 and Oct. 9 and guided by Kim Jong Un pic.twitter.com/NCxL8NRdsW— NK NEWS (@nknewsorg) October 9, 2022
The North Korean leader underlined that the country's nuclear combat forces were at "full preparedness for actual war" and pointed out that the tests were another warning to the country's enemies.
North Korea must "continue to expand the operational sphere of the nuclear strategic armed forces to resolutely deter any crucial military crisis and war crisis," KCNA quoted Kim as saying.
"Kim Jong Un stressed that we should focus all efforts on the endless and accelerating development of the national nuclear combat armed forces," the North Korean news agency mentioned.
Kim made acquiring tactical nukes -- smaller, lighter weapons designed for battlefield use -- a top priority at a key party congress in January 2021, and this year vowed to develop North Korea's nuclear forces at the fastest possible speed.
North Korea organizes military drills
The country revised its nuclear laws last month to allow preemptive strikes, with Kim declaring North Korea an "irreversible" nuclear power.
Since then, Seoul, Tokyo, and Washington have ramped up combined military exercises, including deploying a nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier to the area twice, infuriating Pyongyang, which sees such drills as rehearsals for an invasion.
In response, North Korea "decided to organise military drills under the simulation of an actual war" that simulated hitting South Korea's ports, airports, and military command facilities, KCNA explained Monday.
North Korean army units involved in "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," the agency mentioned, adding that Kim oversaw the tests as well.
KCNA also clarified that North Korea's October 4 missile launch, which flew over Japan and prompted rare evacuation warnings, involved a "new-type ground-to-ground intermediate-range ballistic missile."
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